Books: Pale Shades of Blue

Two writers try to explain what made Miles Davis' classic so special. But all you really need is ears

They make a near perfect match, from their virtually simultaneous publication this fall to their tripping-over-each-other titles. In one corner, The Making of Kind of Blue: Miles Davis and His Masterpiece by Eric Nisenson (St. Martin's Press; 236 pages; $22.95); across the ring, Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece by Ashley Kahn (Da Capo; 223 pages; $23).

The winner? Well, it's playing in the background right now, the smoky, seductive and timeless music Davis and his legendary sidemen--chiefly John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans--committed to tape in a studio on the east side of Manhattan...

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