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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/af88dea9f6ce2c802e5ae70df753a85f2dac530e.jpg Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collectors Edition Box Set

Miles Davis

Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collectors Edition Box Set

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October 16, 2008

In the DVD that accompanies this reissue, singer Shirley Horn defines what makes Miles Davis' music resonate beyond the jazz world: "He was sexy." Aside from the sexiness in that moody trumpet, Kind of Blue introduced modal jazz — a new, less restrictive method of improvising. There's freedom in Davis' disembodied trumpet on "So What"; exhilaration in Bill Evans' fluttery piano and Paul Chambers' bluesy bass on "All Blues"; even playfulness in the solos of pianist Wynton Kelly and saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley on "Freddie Freeloader." Davis' genius on Kind of Blue was creating music that's by turns adventurous and as sweetly accessible as a pop song. The extras are what make this package essential: The DVD includes live footage as well as stories from notables like Bill Cosby, who explains that "Freddie Freeloader" was named for a real person who sneaked into jazz shows. And the extensive liner notes offer the most complete picture of how this landmark work inspired everything from the modal guitar of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" to Meshell Ndegeocello's hauntingly beautiful voice, which is as cool as Davis' muted trumpet.

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