By Bebo Moroni, special collaboration (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bebo_Moroni)
What can you say that hasn’t already been said and repeated
about Kind of Blue?
What can you say about a record that Jimmy Cobb (a connoisseur)
claimed was recorded in Paradise?
I don’t know. I just know how much effort this short review takes me, actually. How do you express how much you love your wife or child?
Or rather, how do you express how much you love them and describe
the intensity of this love, detailing its quality, its evolution and
the elements that make it up?
Difficult, really difficult. There are emotions, and there are few, that even the thousands of words in our vocabularies cannot describe.
But there is, for me, Kind of Blue.
I can make a list of those who have interpreted it, and already this list would be enough for many as a reference: James Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, John His Holiness Coltrane on tenor sax, Bill Evans on piano (replaced, just for a moment, by a poor guy like Wyn Kelly in Freddie Freeloader), Paul Chambers on double bass and James Cobb on drums. Now, I’ll say it, I wish someone would have the courage to make me a list of the best. Even when naming the best of all time, you can’t be as good as the original artist, Miles.
I can say that Kind of Blue is the best-selling record in the history of jazz, and I can go even further, but first I have to open a parenthesis. A few years ago (more than a few, alas!) I was a brilliant young professor of Art History in a certain School of Fine Arts in Rome, and I had the good fortune, in addition to having (it was still possible) a chair —that was the name of the pulpits of the Liceo Artistico, in that pompous university form — in accordance with an established notoriety, to be able to work with the one who had not only been my teacher of Art History, but to be the greatest and most beloved teacher of my life. This extraordinary man was called and, God bless him, if he still lives, Aurelio Fruzzetti. I like to remember him whenever I can, remembering his natural shyness and his immeasurable honesty, a total honesty, honesty so unthinkably total, that it had led a great painter, such as Fruzzetti was, and is (when I say great, I mean great), to hide his tireless work from everyone (to which I glanced whenever I could), and choosing to earn a modest salary as a teacher in order not to stoop to the dependency of the art market.
What does Fruzzetti have to do with Miles Davis?
There is a connection. Believe me, this is important! You see, there is an obsolete term, and hated by many, a term that I like, as a good protester that I am, but that one rarely sees used — except in increasingly rare cases, really rare — in the current global trend. This term is rigour. And to be an artist, you have to be rigorous, extremely rigorous, which is why I will never be. Miles was, and Kind of Blue shows it in its brilliance, in its magic, in the love he transmitted. This is a work of such rigour that it can only be compared to the most rigorous of Bach’s sacred works. There is rigour, and there is rigour. If there is no rigour, there is no love. There may be a hint of passion, there may be charm and heartbeat, but there can be no love.
Let’s go back to Professor Fruzzetti. One day, during one of our endless discussions about heaven and earth, water and fire, love and the psyche, and so on, we started talking, as we often do, about our beloved impressionists. More particularly of the most beloved of the beloved, Paul Cézanne. A few months earlier, I had been in Paris and had sent a postcard to Professor Fruzzetti. It was a photo of one of the countless canvases of Mont Sainte-Victoire that Cézanne had painted, in a heroic and desperate attempt to understand the ultimate essence of the mountain that stood in front of his house in Aix. Cézanne died, old and obsessed, to the point of unconsciousness, in a perpetual confrontation with his mountain. He died in front of his easel, swept away by pneumonia, caught in a violent storm under which he remained for hours. He was found dying a hundred metres from his favourite viewpoint. On the back of the postcard, acquired during my first visit to the Musée d’Orsay, I wrote I know, you can’t tell, but the impressionists, and Cézanne especially, were the greatest artists in history. That day, talking about Cézanne, the professor (how I wish you all knew him!) looked me in the eyes, and abandoning for a moment his rigour which — obviously — prevented possible medals of merit of Art, he said yes, one can say that they were the greatest artists in history, Cézanne in the lead.
After this long detour where I tried to justify myself, I can now say it, Kind of Blue is the greatest record, of which the fame is out of reach, in the history of jazz. But I can’t describe it, I can only say to the youngest readers Listen to it, you can’t go without it and to the older ones, always have it in mind, never leave it too long on a shelf. For me, it is forever Kind of Blue.
This amazing reproduction by Classic Recordings, a label specialized only in vinyl, so precise and precious (this label was even chosen by Peter Gabriel for the vinyl version of his recent Up), represents an enviable opportunity for the youngest to own this marvel of disco and to have it in its most sublime edition, as much for those who already have the album as for those who want to feel all its dynamism and power.
Extremely rigorous in its absolute fidelity to the original — nowhere on the sleeve or on the record will you find the name Classic Recordings, nor anything else that would differ from the original edition, leaving all the space to the absolute purity of the virgin vinyl used, weighing 220 g. Each record is printed from the original master and the first printing master. This reproduction offers a simply incredible sound. Believe me, there’s no argument there. After listening to this vinyl, the Japanese CD edition, remastered in 24 bit, paid for anyway, seems like a tape recorded on the radio. And I’m not exaggerating too much. Listen to the silvery sound of the trumpet, the blown saxophones, the incredible solidity and harmonic breadth of the double bass, the clarity of the piano. Well, if anyone wanted proof of the superiority of vinyl, of the best vinyl, it’s here, ready to be heard.
Is this disc expensive? Yes, it’s expensive, but vinyl is expensive. It costs quite a bit to print vinyl today, especially printing like this. The price is in line with the market price in the world (and indeed, maybe in Italy, it is a little below average). And anyway, the price is the same as for some low consumption CDs or DVDs. Here, no Mercedes or fur coat for sale (as the famous opening words of a famous magazine say about a reference preamp). Don’t buy two CDs that may be superfluous, don’t buy a DVD either, skip a few pizzas with friends, but don’t deprive yourself of this wonder for any reason in the world.
You don’t have a turntable?
Now is the time to buy one.