The following post is not just for jazz players!
It seems to me that contemporary modal improv, which had its jazz birth in the late 1950’s, was a huge influence on the increasingly improvisational rock of the 1960’s, (even when players might not have consciously realized it!), and has never stopped being at the heart of so many great pop/rock/jazz solos until this very day.
This is a brief introduction to the idea of “modal jazz.” We’re going to look at probably the most famous example of modal jazz, a tune called “So What,” by Miles Davis and Bill Evans.
We’re looking at this piece because (1) it was part of a ground-breaking approach to jazz improvisation and composition when it came out, and it’s still definitive of the modal jazz genre (maybe the definitive recording?) (2) because “So What” is the best-known track on one of top-selling jazz albums of all time, “Kind of Blue.”