Blue in Green - Bill Evans

A tapestry of jazz harmony and melodic expression, "Blue in Green" is profoundly recognized as one of the quintessential ballads in the jazz repertoire. Ascribed to the genius collaboration between Bill Evans and Miles Davis, this track stands out in its parent album, "Kind of Blue," as a hauntingly beautiful, introspective exploration of modal jazz.

The Genesis of 'Blue in Green'

The piece "Blue in Green" was first introduced to the world in 1959 on the groundbreaking album "Kind of Blue" by legendary trumpeter Miles Davis. While disputes over authorship have surfaced, Bill Evans' input in the composition is significant, as acknowledged in the album's liner notes. The session featuring "Blue in Green" was revolutionary, emphasizing spontaneity and modal exploration over the conventional chord progressions of the time.

Recorded in only two takes at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City, this track is undeniably a high point in both Evans' and Davis' prestigious careers. "Blue in Green" captures the wistful and ethereal quality that has become emblematic of Evans' style, unfolding a narrative that resonates with listeners beyond the jazz connoisseurs.

Despite initial slow sales, "Kind of Blue" soared to acclaim and "Blue in Green" became an anchor piece of this historic album. Given its innovative use of modal jazz, it has influenced countless musicians and remains a pivotal study piece for pianists and jazz enthusiasts alike.

Anatomy of 'Blue in Green'

Delving into the compositional structure of "Blue in Green," the piece is set in the key of B-flat minor and consists of a mere ten measures, a deviation from the standard twelve or sixteen-measure form. Its sophisticated harmonic language is evident through the use of modal interchange and dense chordal voicings that Evans articulately delivers.

The mesmerizing melody line of "Blue in Green" traverses an emotive landscape, weaving through an intricate series of chords that challenge traditional jazz forms. Modal jazz eschews the restrictive nature of functional harmony for a freer, scale-based approach, and Evans, through his exquisite touch, explores these novel territories with deft eloquence.

Another element of the composition's genius lies in its ambiguous rhythmical feeling, swaying between 3/4 and 4/4 time. Such subtlety in rhythm complements the fluid harmonic movement, leaving the audience with a sense of timelessness, as if suspended in the emotive hue of the music.

'Blue in Green': The Lure and Legacy

"Blue in Green" remains an enduring masterpiece, revered not only for its harmonic innovations but also for the emotive spaces it occupies. It serves as a cornerstone for modal jazz pieces, marking a departure from the be-bop era and opening up uncharted terrains for jazz exploration.

The allure of "Blue in Green" is manifold — its haunting melody, the tender intimacy of Evans' playing, and the historical context of its creation. Together, these components have solidified the piece's place in the pantheon of jazz standards, continuously inspiring new interpretations and adaptations.

The track's influence transcends genres, with artists from various musical backgrounds citing "Blue in Green" as an essential influence. This alone attests to its remarkable popularity, securing its place in the canon of not just jazz, but music as a universal language.


In conclusion, "Blue in Green" stands not just as a testament to the collaboration between Bill Evans and Miles Davis, but as a beacon of musical exploration. Its continued relevance and popularity underscore its profound impact on jazz music and its potency as a piece that connects with the listener on an emotive and intellectual level.

As a solo piano piece, it endures as a touchstone for those seeking a deep, reflective musical experience. Evans' legacy through this composition remains as vibrant and meaningful today as it was at the time of its release.

Publication date: 20. 02. 2024