There is no such thing as perfection. It’s an idea, and not even a particularly useful one at that: all it does is tell you what you are not. It’s even misleading as a goal or a direction to move in, because all it will do is dog you at every step and remind you of how you fall short.
This is what I tell myself most every day, as a way to keep my expectations from being hijacked by the impossible. Impossible is nothing, or so the Adidas ads tell us—and while I do admit every day there is a little bit less of the impossible all around us, there is never any more of the perfect. The only time there’s perfection is when we let ourselves dream, when we freely drop into a space where what’s possible takes precedence over what actually is. Sometimes the best way to get there is with the right music, and if the soundtrack to such a thing is not Kind of Blue then I don’t want another one.
Kind of Blue is the only jazz album I would recommend to someone who has never listened to jazz, whether in a conscientious way or in any way at all. That is only because it’s also one of the few albums I would recommend to anyone no matter what music they already listen to, or even if they listen to no particular music, period. It seems not “educational” but necessary: a world without Kind of Blue is missing at least one major constellation in its sky. You can play it in most any environment without directly noticing what is so special about it, and in a way that is part of what makes it so important. If someone has Kind of Blue in their collection and not a single other jazz record, they are not all that deprived.