Kind of Blue is an amazing song, and it’s an even better story. Now, this won’t be a Behind the Music sort of deal (I actually avoid such background when writing about songs).
No Blue in Green is magic because of the artistry, because of the layers of constraint.
There’s Miles’ muted horn, there’s the famed modal limitations placed upon each musician. It’s a song designed to withhold something.
It all starts with that piano. Bill Evans plays it light, almost Peanuts, until Miles walks in the room.
From there, it’s every Saturday evening detective story. His horn – the mournful coda to an otherwise assured moment.
For sure, the piano revives us. It argues that something isn’t quite so bad. It isn’t just positive, it’s a counterargument to Miles’ complaint.
And then comes Trane. I mean, it’s Trane. Here, he’s Worthy to Magic, Pippen to Jordan (though we know this +1 was more than capable of fronting his own team). It’s Coltrane here who shows the punch by which Miles’ career might me characterized. The clarity, the voice of reason after the first duo’s disagreement, all the more pronounced for that which surrounds it. Even his two brief explosions (2:50, 2:59) show a wink, as if Miles might have argued, “You know this is a ballad” only to have Trane respond that there was no reason one could not slow dance with style.
But then the storyteller comes home. The story belongs to Miles, and it’s his version that we’re indebted to hear. His horn whines, it pleads us to understand.
And though Evans and his ivories will have one more try, their interrupted finale indicates that the Maestro has had enough.
Sometimes you gotta give into the pained one. Accept his truth for what it is (his), and keep your side discussions for another day.