50 YEARS LATER: Still Kind Of Blue

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DAILY NEWS: LIKE SO MANY occasions that turn out to be momentous in hindsight, the recording of Miles Davis’ landmark “Kind of Blue” album carried no special aura, no hint of the iconic future in store. “I just figured it was another good Miles Davis record,” shrugged drummer Jimmy Cobb. “Just one that I happened to be on.”

It hardly needs to be said that Cobb’s impression is a vast understatement. In the 50 years since its release, “Kind of Blue” has come to be regarded as a landmark, the pinnacle not only of Davis’ output but perhaps of jazz itself. It’s almost certainly the best-selling jazz album of all time, and it has a place in the record collection of many a listener who would otherwise profess to a dislike of jazz.

From the opening strains of “So What,” with its instantly memorable refrain, through the crystalline warmth of “Flamenco Sketches,” the album’s every note becomes etched into the brain. Its lineup is unparalleled, with Davis accompanied by Cobb and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianist Bill Evans and bassist Paul Chambers. The word “supergroup” would hardly suffice. Cobb is the only musician still living who played on the two 1959 sessions that comprise “Kind of Blue,” and is paying a rare visit to Philadelphia to open the Kimmel Center’s season-long tribute to the album’s 50th anniversary. MORE

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