Kind of Blue

This was the first Jazz CD I ever owned.  I currently have over 200 Jazz CDs and Kind of Blue is still #1 on my list.

What are your favs?


I don't understand the more extreme reactions to "labelling" genres of Jazz expressed here.  

It can be very helpful to know which sub-genre a particular recording falls into, simply for the sake of finding other recordings one might enjoy. This is especially true for those who've just begun to dip their toes into Jazz.  

it doesn't have to be anything more than this. 

No reason to get one's undies in a knot!    

The usefullness of labels is evident for classyfying music files by genre, instruments, names, countries, eras etc ...

But in my musical habits they means no more... Only the musician name count and had real value ...

The point is over any useful labels only the musicians matter as musicians...

Jimi Hendrix as Bach is a musician... The best  and more useful labelling if we keep only one is the musicians name ... For me...

I don’t understand the more extreme reactions to "labelling" genres of Jazz expressed here.

It can be very helpful to know which sub-genre a particular recording falls into, simply for the sake of finding other recordings one might enjoy. This is especially true for those who’ve just begun to dip their toes into Jazz.

it doesn’t have to be anything more than this.

No reason to get one’s undies in a knot!

@stuartk I’ll clarify.
You may have experienced this scenario one or several times in your life:
Someone says, “you should check out (insert artist name). You’d like it. They are (insert genre/sub-genre label, a label that may or may not have one or several hyphens).” You say, “ok. Will do,” then go and check out said artist, only to find the label/genre used to describe it seems wildly inappropriate. You say, “what? THIS is (genre/sub-genre label)?!?! This doesn’t sound like (genre/sub-genre label)!!”

On top of being lazy, conformist, and disrespectful to the specificity of an artist’s personal and individual expression, that type language and communication is not even useful, practical or helpful.  
It’s the opposite - very often, it’s just unhelpful and inefficient communication.

For instance, on this very thread, a perfect example is shown of the unhelpful, inefficient communication that occurs when this sort of label-mongering is flippantly (and with an almost indignant air of authority) employed.  
This was actually uttered, “(Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield) is firmly in the prog-rock genre…”    
“Prog-rock,” is a term most commonly associated with music like Yes, Rush, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, etc.   
Imagine a person (understandably) being under the impression that “prog-rock” sounds like Yes, Rush, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Jethro Tull.  
Now imagine what they would think after checking out Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, doing so thinking that it would sound like Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or Jethro Tull.  
If you know what those bands sound like, and you know what Tubular Bells sounds like, it’s easy to see how, in this instance, objectively bad communication took place.  
Such is the nature of walking around and tossing out willy-nilly these generic, cookie-cutter labels to describe music.  
WTF is that?  
It’s nothing. Just worthless word salad. That’s just one of many examples of worthless label-mongering that commonly occurs in communication about music.

You seem to think valuing the individuality of an artist, putting our big-boy pants on and “using our words” to describe music instead of lazily trotting out generic label-mongering, and taking issue with poor communication is “extreme” and an instance of one “getting their undies in a knot.”

Surprised that great Oliver Nelson record isn’t mentioned. A warhorse to be sure, but to me, at the level of Kind of Blue.

I think the reason that the old recordings can sound so good is manifold:

  • the studio equipment was far more primitive, less outboard gear, less fiddling with tracks;
  • the musicians were extremely capable- they could play the whole song in a single take, even stuff that had orchestrated parts; no "oh, we’ll fix it later" mentality.

I do have a lot of the warhorses, but lost interest. My interest was renewed a little over a decade ago. I got into so-called "spiritual" and "soul" jazz through the recommendation of someone I knew. There were a few labels that concentrated on this-- mostly top notch sidemen who had no work on mainstream records in the post-Monterrey "youth" explosion. Perry Como was out; new sounds were in, thanks to people like Chris Blackwell at Island who signed an amazing roster of talent (Traffic, Crimson, Free, Tull, Fairport Convention, John Martyn, eventually Bob Marley, etc.)

Meanwhile, in the "jazz" world, it became much more local, community oriented stuff- in NY, Detroit (Motown moved to the West Coast), the West Coast sound, including all the acolytes of Horace Tapscott. Nate Morgan was a killer pianist who did stuff for Chaka Khan when he wasn’t doing deep jazz.

I’m only scratching the surface here, but to paraphrase David Lindley (RIP), the brilliant string player, you can make almost any song "jazz" (Lindley said "reggae" but I think it’s all the same).

If you like straight ahead stuff, check Art Pepper’s last recording of Patricia (he released it three times), this last version, with Cecil McBee (one of the most tuneful bassists I’ve ever heard), Roy Haynes and the recently departed Stanley Cowell (co-founder of Strata-East, one of the wellsprings of spiritual jazz). It is accessible and McBee’s bass work is classic, as is Cowell’s piano work. Pepper was a great altoist:


Actually, I haven’t had the experience you describe.

And, as a creative person whose played guitar for 50 years, has a studio art degree in drawing/printmaking and enjoys photography and writing poetry, implying I'm  someone who disrespects/devalues the arts or artists is absurd,

As you sound emotionally triggered by this topic, I don’t see much possibility for rational conversation.


I’m speaking purely in practical terms, not in terms of "pigeonholing " or otherwise restricting artists. Would you also reject the use of the Dewey Decimal System in libraries?