Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece Paperback – July 3, 2007
|New from||Used from|
Best Books of 2016
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Long-time fans, who know the music and the myths inside out, will marvel anew at the dedication Miles showed not only to his music, but in what can only be called his sentimentality in working with the other artists on the dates. His relationship with pianist Bill Evans is especially poignant.
The rise of modal jazz and its off-shoot from bop, along with the impact on the post-war generation of players is juxtaposed against a record label system willing to actually bid for jazz artists(!) and put real thought and resources into promoting their works. There is a tinge of nostalgia to the writing, though the author is not a contemporary of the original recording's release. This tone is far out-weighed by the realization that Kind of Blue really did mark a second (or third) Golden Age in jazz and that men the likes of Miles Davis - or Babe Ruth or Marlon Brando - seem not to walk among us much anymore.
In an age of celebrity profiles and Behind the Music "documentaries", Kahn's book shows us that every story has many stories, and he tells each with a respectful touch.
Not being musically trained myself, I didn't completely follow Kahn's explanation of "Kind of Blue"'s ground-breaking use of modal (versus chordal) scales. I was more interested in the human stories -- how Miles hooked up with Bill Evans; John Coltrane's expansion of his musical horizons while working with Davis; the impact of heroin addiction on Davis' attempts to keep his bands intact. There are a lot of personal histories embedded in the story, and the author does a good job of teasing them out and explaining how this seminal release came to be made.
However, the book has deficiencies that can't be overlooked.
First of all, the book is too adulatory. Although it's much better than the completely worshipful Eric Nisenson book on the same subject, there's too much PR in proportion to journalism. When I buy a book I don't want to read an extended press release.
In addition, Kahn's excuses for the ineptitude of Columbia Records are too forgiving. More of this below.
First, I suspect that Kahn is not himself an experienced musician. When he tries to write about the music itself he makes several mistakes. I'll cite just one.
On page 70 is a picture of the chart Cannonball Adderley used for "Flamenco Sketches," with a caption by the author that refers to the scales used in the tune as "C Ionian, A-Flat Mixolydian, B-flat Major 7th, D Phrygian, and G Aeolian." The chart, however, is transposed for Eb alto saxophone, so the picture doesn't match the description. It would have been helpful if the caption had mentioned this.
Worse, however, is the apparent lack of understanding of music in the caption itself. "C Ionian" is essentially "C Major." Non-musical readers have heard of C Major but many may have no clue about what an "Ionian" is.
The "A-flat Mixolydian" scale shown here begins on Eb, so it would be more properly labeled "Eb Dorian."
"B-flat Major 7th" is a chord, not a scale. The scale is "Bb Major," period.Read more ›
On the down side, Kahn bungles the explanation of modes and modal improvisation. The modal system can be explained clearly and succinctly; it isn't rocket science. But Kahn devotes quite a bit of ink to the subject and still never manages to even define precisely what a mode is. The author also makes some technical errors in his musical explanations and ignores some important areas of the music that he should have pointed out and explicated. For example, he says nothing about Evans's use of quartal harmony on the album, which was groundbreaking on this album.
The biographical sketch on Miles is far too long and offers no information not already covered in his various biographies. Yes, some background info on Miles was needed but this was much too much.
Also, Kahn needn't have included the endless, breathless superlatives about the album by an endless list of musicians. We know how good the album is; we don't need this parade of people going on and on about it. It's redundant and serves no real purpose.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful narrative on how it all came together for this groundbreaking album. I would have no interest in jazz were it not for what these events produced back in 1959. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Sawgrass
If you are at all interested in music or songwriting, especially jazz fans, this is a great book. It was a new copy, and it arrived in a timely matterPublished on October 14, 2014 by marty
Really nice book with a lot of obscure items about the recording of "Kindf of Blue". Of particular interest to me is that the book expands on Bill Evans' role in the album... Read morePublished on March 16, 2014 by Peter A. Johnson
There is a glaring weakness in this book. Ashley Kahn is a writer and not a musician. So far as specifics of modal music are concerned this book darkens counsel. Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by paul
Very entertaining, insightful and well-written account of the years leading up to the recording of "Kind of Blue," the recording dates, and the impact the record had on jazz and... Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by V. Cariaga
This is a "you are there" kind of book. The author takes you deep into the creative process.
I really enjoyed it.
The book itself is fantastic, even for my poor english skills.
The seller is great ! fast, in time, and very affordable !
Kahn takes the reader right inside Columbia Studios at 207 E. 30th Street for the two sessions that brought us Kind of Blue. Read morePublished on August 21, 2008 by Mark