Group improvisation is a further challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of collective 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.
Kind of Blue is the gold standard for the word “masterpiece.” Rarely do the planets line up to bring together such talent at the heights of their careers quite like this recording.
The music’s uniqueness comes from the manner of improvisation. Prior to this recording, jazz musicians kept their creativity within the confines of chord progressions. Although there had already been new ways of looking into jazz improvisation (e.g., Ornette Coleman), Miles Davis introduced a way of improvising in what he called “modes” or modal improvisation.
The effect of these constraints on these musicians, playing at the height of their creative powers, produces a very chill and moody album with as much emotion as can be felt from music.
Pianist for the session Bill Evans’ description then is a beautiful metaphor for the ancient struggle of the one and the many. How can a human being live as an individual, complete with all their uniqueness and distinctives, and yet lay aside those particulars so that she can function in human community?
Kind of Blue is a powerful metaphor for what is possible for man to achieve when he lives, NOT as this generation would have us to live—without constraint, but with the RIGHT constraints. The result is not suppression, but beauty.