So What (11:56)

Cover of Kind of Blue

From Kind of Blue and 292 other releases

There are two different compositions entitled “So What” performed by Miles Davis.

Most notable is the version from the classic Miles Davis Album “Kind of Blue”, with personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (alto saxophone), Bill
Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). Recorded March 2, 1959 at Columbia
Studios, New York City. Soloists are (in order): Davis, Coltrane, Adderley, Evans (with horns),
Chambers (final melody). Written by Miles Davis.

This song is one of the first and most famous instances of modal jazz, where the harmony is based on a scale rather than a rapidly changing series of chords. So What’s bass line and melody are based on the D dorian scale, and the only changes are in the “B” section of the song, moving up a half step,
before returning back down. The solos follow this same progression, using D dorian for the first
16 bars, Eb dorian for the next 8 bars, and D dorian again for the last 8.

The lesser known “So What” is from the 1951 album “Conception”, a standard that was also performed by Chubby Jackson featuring Gerry Mulligan in 1950, immediately after Miles’ “Birth of Cool” sessions.

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