April 22, 1959
Final Day of Recording Kind of Blue
On April 22, 1959, Miles Davis arrived at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in Manhattan to record what would become the second side of Kind Of Blue. With a sextet that included saxophonists Cannonball Adderley (on alto) and John Coltrane (on tenor), pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb, Miles led the group through “All Blues” and “Flamenco Sketches.”
Few in the studio could have predicted what those sessions—an earlier date, March 2, as well as April 22—would have meant not just for Miles, but jazz music as a whole. Davis brought the group in with no prior rehearsals, and only supplied the group with sketches of melodic ideas. “I wanted a lot of spontaneity in the playing,” Davis later wrote in his 1989 autobiography, adding that no rehearsals were needed “because I had great musicians in that band and that’s the only way that can work.”
Miles was right, of course: when it was released in 1959, Kind Of Blue was part of an industry-wide tidal wave of innovation that reshaped audiences’ expectations for what jazz groups could do and how they could move you. To this day, Kind Of Blue is the single best-selling jazz record of all time—and today, 60 years to the day after it was recorded, is as good a day as any to discover it again.
Listen to Kind Of Blue.