Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (1959, 2015 MOFI 2 x 45rpm reissue)
Where have I been?! I’ve been moving house, that’s where I’ve been. Everything packed up for a while, everything unpacked in its’ own time and yes, a certain nervousness about restarting this blog after a month plus dormant. But – here we are, and this is the first official new vinyl play through, and it’s an absolute cracker to begin with.
(I say official – the first unofficial was a copy of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream but anyone who knows me won’t be surprised I used that as the “test it all works” record! )
Kind Of Blue is the best selling jazz album ever, and for good reason – it’s utterly brilliant. In this instance though, the Mobile Fidelity team have gone back to the original master tapes and done it all again, pressing it on highest quality 180g virgin black vinyl, for the best possible sonic experience – and it’s ridiculous what they’ve coaxed out of the grooves.
Remastered directly from the original tape and refined by the MOFI GAIN 2 process and Ultra Analog pressing for this release, the sound quality of the MOFI KOB 45rpm disk via my current system even at medium level is truly mind boggling. The instrument tonality contained in the groove is absolutely the best I’ve ever heard of this album, to the point that I’m wondering what it would sound like on a five figure system, let alone my fifteen hundred quid Audioshite kit, built of a hotch potch of old and new and all secondhand!
The cymbals despite the mono relegation to the right channel was truly wonderful and the realness is arresting, the drums sound amazing, you can hear when the wind instruments are slightly overcooked and the reeds offer up a slight distortion. The bass – you can hear the pluck on the strings, it’s awe inspiring. The sound is full, wide, engaging, emotive, remarkable. All encompassing. There aren’t enough superlatives.
Even ignoring the fact that this was recorded on a two track machine, this is astonishing. Ironically, it would be wasted on ripping it to play in the car – you need a decent stereo to appreciate it!
Now this wasn’t cheap – I think I paid about eighty quid for it all in, which is silly money for five tracks but you know what? Worth it. Worth every penny.
The album’s influence has reached beyond jazz, as musicians of such genres as rock and classical have been influenced by it, while critics have written about it as one of the most influential albums of all time. Many improvisatory rock musicians of the 1960s referred to Kind of Blue for inspiration, along with other Davis albums, as well as Coltrane’s modal records My Favorite Things (1961) and A Love Supreme (1965). Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright said that the chord progressions on the album influenced the structure of the introductory chords to the song Breathe on the album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). In his book Kind of Blue: The Making of a Miles Davis Masterpiece, writer Ashley Kahn wrote “still acknowledged as the height of hip, four decades after it was recorded, Kind of Blue is the premier album of its era, jazz or otherwise. Its vapory piano introduction is universally recognized”.
This new house has a log fire. I’m going to set up the second stereo, sort out the cart with the better Ortofon stylus I have (this is the Sansui deck I’m talking about here), get the fire going, turn the lights down, and loaf on the sofa to this with my eyes closed, drinking it all in. It’s going to be memorable.