Fifty years after it was recorded, “Kind of Blue” remains the biggest-selling jazz record of all time — we’re talkin’ ’bout vinyl here! — and the subject of endless fascination. This week NPR delved into the subject of the Miles Davis-led project, which featured solos from John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans, among others. Be sure to listen to the audio clips on that link with some of the participants, most of whom have passed on.
Below is a video montage from the “Kind of Blue” sessions with footage, interviews and other goodies. The tracks were laid down at a time during which many jazz critics believe was the start the decline of the great American improvisational art form. It came at the end of the Bebop era and before the free jazz epidemic that claimed Davis. Yet jazz lives on, and not just in the past. This young Russian-born pianist, for example, is a fantastic new addition to the genre.
As so many of us try to improvise second careers — in journalism or beyond — I find the topic quite timely. The death of journalism is being predicted with the decline of print, erroneously so. There’s a lot of life left for what we do, but we journalists, our potential benefactors and our best entrepreneurial and creative energies have to reinvigorate it. Not the media industries that are cutting us loose.
In other words, we can no longer think and act like Freddie Freeloaders. Not an easy task, but nothing to feel blue about at all.