Recorded live in France at the Festival Mondial, du Jazz Antibes, Miles Davis in Europe captures trumpeter Miles Davis in late 1963. While Four & More and My Funny Valentine – both taken from the same 1964 New York Philharmonic Hall concert – are most often cited as this lineup's essential live recording, Miles Davis in Europe is a no less exciting listen.
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace – each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz – tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn't quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they've memorized every nuance.