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Book cover of 3 Shades of Blue

3 Shades of Blue

Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans & The Lost Empire of Cool

James Kaplan


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Coup de coeur
Coup de coeur (Jazz), by
Miles Davis' 1959 album, the jazz album that even people who don't like jazz own, is probably the biggest selling jazz album ever, certainly one of the best known. This absorbing book is all about its three main contributors: Miles, John Coltrane and Bill Evans. That said, the creation of the album takes up a small part of the book; the rest tells the stories of those three brilliant musicians, before and after Kind of Blue, unflinchingly presenting their faults as well as their genius. The jazz life - drugs, racism, ceaseless touring - stands almost as a character on its own.

1959 saw Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the other members of Miles's sextet come together to record the seminal jazz album of all time Kind of Blue.

3 Shades of Blue is a magnificent, blended biography on the meandering paths which led Miles, Coltrane and Evans to the mountaintop of 1959 and the aftermath. It's a book about music, business, race, addiction and the cities that gave jazz its home; from New York and LA to Philadelphia, Chicago and Kansas City. Kaplan meditates on creativity and the great forebears of this golden age who would take the music down strange new paths.

Above all, this is a book about three very different men - their struggles, their choices, their tragedies, their greatness. The tapestry of their lives is, in Kaplan's hands, an American Odyssey, with no direction home.

Publisher: Canongate Books
Binding: Hardback
Publication date: 07 Mar 2024
Dimensions: 240 x 165 x 42 mm
ISBN: 9781805302001