So What

Miles Davis

Song Review by Thomas Ward

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is of course one of the landmarks of modern music. More people have heard it than any other jazz record, and it’s five pieces are music are amongst the most ubiquitous in jazz. “So What” opens the album, and it’s arguably it’s most distinctive piece. With a long introduction from bassist Paul Chambers culminating in Davis’ quintessential modal, minimalist solo, “So What” has become something of a blue print for all modal jazz. Indeed, the track is so laid back, thanks mostly to Jimmy Cobb’s drumming, that it’s the very essence of “cool jazz”. The rhythmic style is very free, and although the structure is simple, it reveals new complexities and subtleties in each listen.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Kind of Blue 1959 Legacy / Columbia 9:25
Miles in Tokyo 1969 Legacy 8:05
Miles Davis' Greatest Hits 1969 Legacy / Columbia 9:22
Heard 'Round the World 1984 Columbia
Mellow Miles 1985 Sony Music Distribution / Columbia 9:05
Sound of Miles Davis 1986 Tokei Japan / Instant Replay
Miles Davis: The Columbia Years 1955-1985 1988 Columbia 12:02
Columbia Jazz Masterpiece Sampler, Vol. 1 1990
Various Artists
Columbia 9:02
The I Like Jazz: The Essence of Miles Davis 1991 Columbia 9:02
Jazz Moods, Vol. 2 [Telstar] 1994
Various Artists
Le Meilleur de Miles Davis 1994 TriStar Music 8:56
Milestones/Kind of Blue 1994 Sony Music Distribution 9:30
This Is Miles, Vol. 1 1995 TriStar Music 8:58
The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, Vol. 1-5 1995
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 8:51
This Is Jazz, Vol. 8: Miles Davis Acoustic 1996 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 9:10
The Very Best of Miles Davis [Australia] 1998 Columbia / Legacy 9:02
Pleasantville [Original Soundtrack] 1998
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 9:04
Jazz Greatest Hits: Miles Davis/Dave Brubeck/Thelonious Monk 2000 Columbia 9:22
Super Hits 2001 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 9:23
The Essential Miles Davis [Columbia/Legacy] 2001 Legacy 9:22
Ken Burns Jazz, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Legacy / Columbia 9:24
Essential Jazz 2 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 9:18
Jazz Moods: Cool 2004 Legacy / Columbia 9:22
The Miles Davis Story/Kind of Blue [CD+DVD] 2004 Smv 9:25
Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1963-1964 2004 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 10:27
The Cool Jazz Sound [DVD] 2004 Efor Films
Music: Its Role and Importance in Our Lives 2005
Various Artists
Macmillan / McGraw-Hill 9:22
Poetics of Sound: 1954-1959 2005 DV&A / Sony BMG 9:23
Very Best of Miles Davis [Music Brokers] 2006 Music Brokers 10:49
Cool & Collected 2006 Legacy / Columbia 9:23
Jazz Greats: Trilogy 2007
Various Artists
Music Brokers / Pmb 10:46
Playlist: The Very Best of Miles Davis 2008
The Magic of Miles 2008 Must Have Records
The Collection: Sketches of Spain/Kind of Blue/In a Silent Way 2009 Legacy / Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 9:25
The Collection: Sorcerer/Kind of Blue/In a Silent Way 2009 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 9:25
The Music of Miles Davis 2009 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 9:22
The Norton Jazz Recordings 2009
Various Artists
W.W. Norton 9:25
Discotheque Ideale: 25 Original Jazz Albums 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 9:24
Miles in the Movies 2010 Giant Steps 9:25
Milestones/Kind of Blue/Miles Ahead 2010 Hallmark 8:52
Pink Floyd's Jukebox: The Songs That Inspired the Band 2010
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams / United States of Distribution 9:25
Pure... Jazz 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 9:24
The Real...Miles Davis: The Ultimate Miles Davis Collection 2011 Sony Music 9:25
The 100 Best Jazz Tunes of the 1950's 2011
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 9:24
Playlist: A Musical Journey Through Black Music 2012
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Entertainment 9:12
All Blues 2012 Must Have Records
Music & Photos 2013 Columbia / Sony Music 9:22
The Original Mono Recordings 2013 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 9:07
The Box Set Series 2014 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 9:24
Miles Davis at Newport: 1955-1975 - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4 2015 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music 8:18
Miles Ahead [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2016 Columbia Records / Legacy 9:22
Essential Original Albums 2016 Masters of Music 9:27
The Only One and Fantastic... Miles Davis 2017 Cayenne Records
The Classic Collaborations: 1953 – 1963 2018 Enlightenment 13:25
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2020 Sony Music 9:05
American Anthems, Vol. Two
Various Artists
Sound and Vision
Bye Bye Blackbird
Various Artists
BD Jazz
Canton Reference Check, Vol. 1
Various Artists
So What (The Audio Pearls Collection) Puzzled Records
The Norton Jazz Recordings: Essential Listening
Various Artists
W.W. Norton 9:25
The Perfect Miles Davis Collection Sony Music 10:27
The Signature Collection: Miles Davis Labelle