Miles Davis’s “So What” is the best piece of music ever created
I’m going to break it down even further. The best moment of music of all time is the kick on the first note of Miles Davis’s trumpet solo at the beginning of So What (1:34). This very moment beautifully introduces the world to modal jazz.
Then the solos. Soulful, modal, and reactive (the musicians listen to each other and do things by reacting to what they hear).
Then there’s the rhythm section (piano, drums, bass) throughout and how they play along with and react to each other, and to what the horns are doing. And how Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans play piano so differently, but so wonderfully in their distinct ways. All with a constant, walking, driving, beat by the drums and bass, relentlessly marching on.
There are only two scales in the entire piece (D dorian and Eb dorian), which is what makes it modal jazz in the first place.
Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb made history on those two days in March and April of 1959. They defined a path for the future of jazz as a whole.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, do yourself a favor and listen to it as soon as you can. But before you do, get into a calm, relaxing, comfortable place (i.e. in a chair, bed, or couch), put on headphones, setup some mood lighting, close your eyes, don’t say a word, and listen to the best piece of music (and album) ever created.