Kind of Blue Still the Gold Standard at 50

Topselling jazz album helped redefine American music
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2009 5:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Fifty years to the day since its debut, Miles Davis’ signature album Kind of Blue remains beautiful and inviting—"like meeting an old friend," Malcolm Jones writes in Newsweek. The record helped jazz earn its title as America’s classical music and remains the bestselling jazz album ever. "You won’t find recordings that boast more thoughtful compositions or performances of any higher caliber," Jones writes. "The music has no weak spots."

Even without vocals and hummable standards, the album endures, in part because “it was conceived as a whole” with “an open-ended sense of discovery and exploration.” With Blue, Davis became a star and revolutionized a jazz world bent on bebop and hard bop. “At a time when what is popular and what is good seem ever more divergent, Kind of Blue sounds better all the time,” Jones writes.