Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

by sfe medusa

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Something has always stopped me from getting into jazz and blues, perhaps because every time I’ve put on an album I feel like I’m expected to conjure up hackneyed images of solitary evening strolls through crowded cities in which I feel so alone yet so invigorated thanks to Coltrane on sax. Or I associate the sounds with some sourceless image I have of a smoky, red-velveted, low-ceilinged club where people grin at each other through clouds of cigarette smoke and I am nightmarishly forced to talk about art I don’t like, literature I haven’t read and politics I don’t care about.

Of course this reaction of mine is a result of a tired stereotype propagated by unimaginative films and vacant stories told by acquaintances who I think are really quite full of shit.

But alas! This listening experience is far from dreadful. The album opens with a saxophone that feels like a torch shining hyperactively around the inside of my brain, removing all this dusty cynicism, all this social anxiety, all this inherent need to conform. It’s like all the canals and corridors between my right ear and my left ear have been burst open and my head is now filled with aural nectar instead of everyday neuroticism.

I’m greedy for the addictive pulsating of “Blue in Green” that captures the delicacy of escapism. I focus on the way the instruments fit together harder than I ever focussed on any exam, and it’s a concentration that is pure, that I enjoy and that doesn’t burn me out and drain my soul like those long hours of concentrated exam revision.

I meditate on my wallowing enjoyment of solitude, and savour the way I feel so comforted by this escape from the grief and stress of real life, because in this moment, everything is just right. I’m so immersed that it only really occurs to me about 35 minutes in that there are human hands behind this perfection.

So I guess you could say I understand what all the fuss is about. A very selfish review I seem to have written, but I think there’s something very selfish about listening to music. And so be it.

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