Miles Davis
Kind Of Blue (50th Anniversary Collector's Edition)

CD One
1. So What (B)
2. Freddie Freeloader (B)
3. Blue in Green (B)
4. All Blues (C)
5. Flamenco Sketches (C)
6. Flamenco Sketches (alternate take) (C)
7. Freddie Freeloader – studio sequence 1 (B)
8. Freddie Freeloader – false start (B)
9. Freddie Freeloader – studio sequence 2 (B)
10. So What – studio sequence 1 (B)
11. So What – studio sequence 2 (B)
12. Blue in Green – studio sequence (B)
13. Flamenco Sketches – studio sequence 1 (C)
14. Flamenco Sketches – studio sequence 2 (C)
15. All Blues – studio sequence (C).

CD Two
1. On Green Dolphin Street (A)
2. Fran-Dance (A)
3. Stella by Starlight (A)
4. Love for Sale (A)
5. Fran-Dance (alternate take) (A)
6. So What (D, previously released in unauthorized form).

180-gram LP
(Side One)
1. So What (B)
2. Freddie Freeloader (B)
3. Blue in Green (B)

(Side Two)
4. All Blues (C)
5. Flamenco Sketches (C).

1. Celebrating A Masterpiece: Kind Of Blue documentary (55 min)
2. Robert Herridge Theatre: The Sound of Miles Davis (26 min)
3. Photo gallery, Don Hunstein

(A) – session: Monday, May 26th 1959: MD, CA, JC, BE, PC, JCB.
(B) – session: Monday, March 2nd 1959: MD, CA, JC, WK (only on Freddie Freeloader), BE, PC, JCB.
(C) – session: Wednesday, April 22nd 1959: MD, CA, JC, BE, PC, JCB.
(D) – concert, Saturday, April 9th 1960: MD, CA, JC, WK, PC, JCB (in Kurhaus, Den Haag, the Netherlands).


MD – Miles Davis, (1926-1991), trumpet
CA – Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, (1928-1975), alto saxophone (his name printed wrongly on the cover as ‘Adderly’)
JC – John Coltrane (1926-1967), tenor saxophone
WK – Wynton Kelly, (1931-1971), piano
BE – Bill Evans, (1929-1980), piano
PC – Paul Chambers, (1935-1969), contrabass
JCB – Jimmy Cobb, (1929-), drums and percussion

Issued by: Columbia/Legacy, CL 33552 2
Details: collectors edition box
Date of issue: September 30th, 2008
Sound engineer (originally): Fred Plaut
Sound engineer (re-edition): Mark Wilder
Producer (re-edition): Michael Cuscuna
Recording place: 30th Street Studio (Columbia), New York, USA; Kurhaus, Den Haag, the Netherlands
Date of recording: March 2nd, 1959; April 22nd 1959; May 26th, 1959; April 6th, 1960

Format: 2 x CD + DVD + LP

You Tube:


First a few words about the details of the edition. The discs were placed in one, common cover, the same like in double LPs. This is a pity and that for two reasons. First one is prosaic – the CDs and DVD discs are to be placed in cardboard, so they will get scratched easily. So you should buy Nagaoka CD bags – on the CD Japan site for example (see banner below). The second is, that this departs from the idea of the re-edition to be as close to the original as possible – the original has a classic, single LP cover. The blue color of the vinyl is also a departure from the original, but this is acceptable, I think. The label on the disc seems to be conform to the original – this is the red “six eye” version (the promotional ones are white), with a black edge. The mono version has the edge red and only the “eyes” are black. The pressing from Columbia from 1974 has different labels – red, with yellow writing, and the 90-ties edition is also red, but with black text – very sloppy, by the way. One more thing – I think, that CD1 should carry only the original pieces, with the printing like on the original LP, all the others should be placed on other discs. Those are details, but… Except for that, this is a beautiful issue. Something else – the visual materials are controversial, because that what people think about Davis is maybe interesting, but only as a curiosity, and not the main topic of the film.


Like I wrote, I compared the LP with two more pressings – from 1974 and from the 90-ties. (probably made from the master tape prepared for the MasterSound issue). At one of my friends I could listen to the version issued by Classic Records (CS8163QP, Quiex SV-P 200 g vinyl) and this last one is definitely the best pressing. Unfortunately I never heard the original pressing. The worst one is the one from the 90-ties – it is muted, low resolving and just plain boring. In comparison the 1974 version is a volcano of energy.
But the newest version is much better than the best ones I heard, excluding the Classic Records. I think, that noise reduction was used to a lesser extent (if at all) while preparing the master. Thus the tape noise is much clearer. That is why on the Internet we can read, that this is a ‘noisier’ version – it is the tape hiss. I do not agree with that. The CR version is better, but the new pressing is not bad – it is better than the two I had for direct comparison. The only problem are the small clicks and taps – very quiet and rare, but audibly related to the pressing, and not the cleanness of the record surface. The resolution of this pressing is very good, and only the CR shows a bit more. We can start with the cymbals. They are much better defined; there is more information about the single instruments. Also the trumpet and saxophone are richer in harmonics and reverbs. But I was most impressed by the cleanness of the contrabass line – finally nothing booms, we have a clear sound, with details of the playing technique, etc. Listening with headphones shows also the extra-musical details – how James Cobb moves, the quiet murmurs of the musicians and similar. I did not hear those that well on any other pressing. The instruments are closer together here than on the 1974 version, but this is only a trace of closing. Finally the piano has a good attack and proper vividness. Although this is a 3x mono recording, due to the fact, that it was made in the same room, a quite convincing scene was created. It is continuous – there is no doubt, that the musicians play together and not aside of each other. The 1974 version is a tad louder, but also visibly devoted from a part of the information – there is lack of a part of the treble, as if someone would cut it on a sound processor. Here the tape noise level is higher and even in general, the higher background and tape noise from the new edition seems less important. It seems that the new re-edition is splendid, and although the tape noise can be reduced more, the trumpet can be shown better and stronger (see – Classic Records), in general this is a fantastic edition. I see its flaws, but being frank, this will be my last copy of Kind of Blue I ever bought – it is good enough, that only an original in mint condition could ever be tempting. And even that not for sure.

Sound quality: 8/10


The listening session to the Compact Disc version brought a few surprises. To be sure of what I hear, I made the comparisons in three different systems. Although the separate elements I will tell about in a moment, were accented stronger one time, softer another time, the differences had a common divider and were always present. It turned out, that the ‘golden’ version is a bit mudded and “sticky”. This is relaxing in a way, but at the expense of energy. In this regard, the “regular” MasterSound version is better. I was surprised with that, because both discs were pressed in Japan, and it would seem, that they used the same master tape. Both have some characteristics in common, but energy, vitality and directness of the later, aluminum, version is definitely - in my opinion – better. The new edition shows, that it can be done better. The recording level is lower (by 1.5-2dB) than with the two earlier issues, but the sound is opener, fuller. The tape and background noise is lower than on the SBM versions. It seems, that the treble is less cut. Both Japanese versions have a tendency to sound a bit ‘plastic’, as if the attack would be a bit rounded, polished. There is visibly less information about this phase of the sound, what is most heard with the cymbals, but also the trumpet. The resolution is also improved, this can be heard in about a dozen seconds from the start. But the thing that surprised me most, was – as I wrote before – that the gold-CD version of Columbia/Legacy was worst in this comparison. It was just as if somebody would use a sound compressor while recording. The new, jubilee version, has better defined edges and attack of the sound. Also the treble is not fogged. I also did not have the impression of ‘plastic sound’ I mentioned earlier. One could hear nicely how Adderley takes a breath between the individual phrases, what is an integral part of the musical transmission and makes its wealth. Intriguing is the fact, that although on the Japanese version the instruments are closer, they are heard “worse”, especially the trumpet and the cymbals. Their details are washed out and rounded. The contrabass is stronger on both Japanese versions, but the new American version was closer, to that, what I heard from LP. On the golden version the cymbals are “gold”, they have a nicely marked “center of gravity”, but they lack a part of the frequency spectrum, as if only one and only cymbal would be shown, leading the rhythm, during the “creation” of the spectrum. In this aspect, this disc can be liked better than the regular MasterSound, but I am not sure, that this is more true to the recording.
Without doubts the new CD has a better, more energetic, more resolving sound. This is really good work! And although in the case of the LP, when you have the original, or the Classic Records version, the new disc is not an improvement, then with the CD we never had such good sound. I think, that it even better than the single layer SACD played from the DP-700 Accuphase. I’ll remind, that the SACD was made using an EMM Labs A/D converter from the 3-track master tape. There are two versions of the disc available – a single layer one for the US market, and a hybrid one for the other markets. The first one is better.

Sound quality (CD1): 9/10

Wojciech Pacuła




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