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Richard Williams: The Blue Moment (Faber & Faber)

David Stubbs, The Wire, August 2009

MILES DAVIS's Kind of Blue is probably the most popular jazz recording of all time, equally so among those who don't own any other jazz records and aficionados whose collections fill entire rooms. Yet, at the time of its release in 1959 and afterwards, many critics have winced at its success. Some have criticised its 'loungey' or 'port and velvet' aspects, others berated it as a coffee bar cliche. Former editor of The Wire, the late Richard Cook, declared that he felt its predecessor Milestones was the superior album, in that it was "more swinging". And so indeed it is. However, the point about Kind of Blue is that it does not swing — it is a rare and transcendent moment in art when for a single moment the pendulum hangs perfectly still. This is the 'blue moment', which former Melody Maker editor and now Guardian sports writer Richard Williams seeks to expand upon.

Total word count of piece: 501


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