℗ Originally released 1959. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
If you are looking for the stereo version of Kind of Blue, click here.
Kind of Blue is an album most have heard many times before in a wide variety of formats. Now, you can hear it as if you were right there in the recording studio with the musicians! After many years, Sony finally decided to remaster Kind of Blue hi-res at 192kHz/24bit with the brilliant engineer Mark Wilder and the dedicated and knowledgeable producer Steve Berkowtiz (who has spent more time with and knows this album better than anyone out there). The quality of sound on this recording is unparalleled—listening to this release is like being IN THE STUDIO with Miles.
Kind of Blue Becomes Digital, by Engineer Mark Wilder
"Since the Kind of Blue mixed masters are multiple generations from the original (due to excessive play/wear), we decided to go directly to the original session reels. Not only does this put us at the original session as a starting point, but it also allows us to deal with the pitch issue as well.
The three, 3-track half-inch tapes are in good condition, but age has force them to “scallop” a little, meaning that the edges curl away from the tape head. This changed the initial focus from mixing from the originals to archiving them before mixing and working from the archive files. This allowed us to gently guide the tape against the playback head to get optimal contact and fidelity.
The archiving was done at 192kHz/24 bits, played from a modified Ampex ATR 104, and hard-wired to HDCD Model 2’s directly patched to a Lynx 2 sound card.
An upside to working from the archive files was the ability to chase the original fader moves done during the mix in 1959. We constantly compared to an early pressing - mono and stereo - and worked bar by bar to duplicate the level moves on the three tracks to match as well as possible.
Each channel was converted to analog and passed through a GML mixer, bussed to stereo or mono - depending on the release format - and converted once again to 192Kc/24 bits. At the GML, we inserted processing where needed.”
– Mark Wilder, Battery Studios
So, what does all of this mean for you, the listener?
With this new hi-res version you will hear purity of tone that is impossible to get with a CD (which has a certain 'hardness' to the sound). Additionally, the spatial cues are 'wider' and you can hear the real physical depth of the sound stage of the Columbia Records 30th Street Studio. You will feel more of the size and immense space of the studio than ever before, and it will sound as if Miles was right there in front of you in your living room! This new hi-res version of Kind of Blue is a testament to the great and simple engineering of the day.
Miles Davis' legendary album, Kind of Blue, is considered to be the best jazz record of all time, as well as being both Davis' best-selling record and the best-selling jazz record of all time. It has been certified quadruple platinum and is considered to be Davis' masterpiece. An incredibly influential and innovative album, Kind of Blue was a breakthrough album, not in a commercial sense but in the fact that the record created an entirely new language. Chick Corea, one of Miles Davis' acolytes, said about the album, "It's one thing to just play a tune, or play a program of music, but it's another thing to practically create a new language of music, which is what Kind of Blue did."
Kind of Blue was recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio (also known as CBS 30th Street Studio and nicknamed "The Church") on March 2 and April 22, 1959. The 30th Street Studio is considered by many to be the greatest recording studio in history, with a stunning acoustic space—100 foot high ceilings and a 100 foot floorspace for the recording area. Some of the records recorded at 30th Street Studio include Pink Floyd's The Wall, Glenn Gould's Bach: The Goldberg Variations, Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story and the entire Masterworks discography of Vladimir Horowitz.
Original liner notes by Bill Evans:
IMPROVISATION IN JAZZ
by Bill Evans
There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He mus paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.
The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.
This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflection, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.
Group improvisation is a further challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of colective coherent thinking, there is the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result. This most difficult problem, I think, is beautifully met and solved on this recording.
As the painter needs his framework of parchment, the improvising musical group needs its framework in time. Miles Davis presents here frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performances with a sure reference to the primary conception.
Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore, you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances. The group had never played these pieces prior to the recordings and I think without exception the first complete performance of each was a "take."
Although it is not uncommon for a jazz musician to be expected to improvise on new material at a recording session, the character of these pieces represents a particular challenge.
Briefly, the formal character of the five settings are:
So What is a simple figure based on 16 measures of one scale, 8 of another and 8 more of the first, following a piano and bass introduction in free rhythmic style. Freddie Freeloader is a 12-measure blues form given new personality by effective melodic and rhythmic simplicity. Blue in Green is a 10-measure circular form following a 4-measure introduction, and played by soloists in various augmentation and diminution of time values. Flamenco Sketches is a 6/8 12-measure blues form that produces its mood through only a few modal changes and Miles Davis' free melodic conception. All Blues is a series of five scales, each to be played as long as the soloist wishes until he has completed the series.
- Miles Davis – trumpet, band leader
- Julian "Cannonball" Adderley – alto saxophone, except on "Blue in Green"
- Paul Chambers – double bass
- Jimmy Cobb – drums
- John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
- Bill Evans – piano (except "Freddie Freeloader"), liner notes
- Wynton Kelly – piano on "Freddie Freeloader"
- Fred Plaut - recording engineer
- Irving Townsend - original producer
- Mark Wilder - remix engineer
- Steve Berkowitz - remix producer
- Michael Cuscuna - reissue production