In A Silent Way Import
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Miles Davis - In A Silent Way - Cd
Miles Davis's famous mid-1960s quintet, featuring saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock, was intact until just a few weeks before his new, electric ensemble recorded In a Silent Way. Legendary as a kind of line in the sand challenging jazz fans during the ascendance of electric, psychedelic rock, In a Silent Way hinted at the repetitive polyrhythms Davis would employ throughout the early 1970s. It also partook generously of electric piano and bass and rekindled the tonal palette that Davis had explored famously with Kind of Blue. But In a Silent Way remains a clearly electric jazz record, part ambient colour exploration, part rock-inflected energy and vibe, and part outright maverick creativity. Davis takes many long, breathy solos, and they glisten in a burnished blue against his new group's strange admixture of musical moods. --Andrew Bartlett
Top Customer Reviews
Like “Kind of Blue” a decade earlier Miles Davis assembles a stunningly adept peer group – including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Jo Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, Chick Corea & Dave Holland – and then pushes their and his playing to previously undiscovered heights. The end result?… jazz improvisation at its very best, with nothing detracting from the unstoppable flow of the satisfyingly tight melodic structures, despite the enormous complexity of what is actually going on, and with the complete record merging into a gloriously unified whole.
“In a Silent Way” quickly draws you into its languidly ethereal atmosphere, driving poly-rhythms and wonderful extemporisations and, like all true jazz masterpieces, pays out enormous bonuses from repeat listening. One of the essential reasons why Miles Davis justifies his reputation and… a template for much future imitation and excess.
The year 1969 was exceptionally fecund, with the recording of two radically different albums: In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. The former is a collection of slow, almost ambient improvisations; the latter uses a similar approach, but with a powerful rhythm section. Both feature electric instruments and develop Miles’ version of jazz fusion.
In a Silent Way is just over 38 minutes and consists of two songs: Shhh/Peaceful and In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time. Recorded in one day, on February 18, 1969, about three hours of music was used to create these two tracks. With Teo Macero producing Miles for the first time, this record is partly the result of improvisations, partly the result of Macero’s work editing different sections together. For example, on Shhh/Peaceful, Macero took the first six minutes of the track and repeated them at the end, making a piece in three sections which, with this odd edit, works quite well.
While this record could be called fusion, it’s much more. There are electric keyboards, there’s a pulsing beat, but it doesn’t have the rhythmic drive that Bitches Brew shows. Shhh/Peaceful is more rhythmic; In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time shifts between sections that are almost ambient and parts that are more rhythmic. The music is simple, beautiful, and flows like waves.Read more ›
Personally, I warm to the second, the title track more than the Corea/Hancock/Zawinul collaboration that is the first track. However, looking at the first one, it is also brilliantly true to form and is mystefying and incredible in itself. It's quiet, sloshing drum beat that runs right through the piece is perfect 'background whispering' to the voices of each of the instruments that ride above it. From Zawinuls organ, to Davis' own brilliant trumpet solos. From all the musicians however, these are never brash, never bold and always tasteful. The sound is complete and the oscilations from deep, magical space right back to quiet humming noise are simply mesmerising.
The second track is split into three parts. The first section is repeated after the simply gorgeous middle. Both of them are as equally well crafted as track one, but a little bit more outspoken, more definate in purpose. Particularly the middle section, which rings out more of the old trad. jazz we might have heard on 'Kind Of Blue' than anywhere else on the album. That in itself though is a relief. KOB was a masterpiece, and so is 'In a Silent Way'; but in its own... silent way.
One of my favourite albums is the self-titled debut of former Talk Talk member Mark Hollis, which takes elements of a jazz template and merges it with elements of rock and folk. It is through Hollis and his work with Talk Talk that I discovered the music of Miles Davis, with many people citing the influence of albums like Miles Smiles, Kind of Blue and In A Silent Way on those two Talk Talk classics, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. If you're familiar with those albums, particularly the more subdued Laughing Stock, then you'll have a vague idea of what to expect from this album... with the influence of In A Silent Way also finding it's way onto albums as disparate as Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, Dead Bees on a Cake by David Sylvian, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, Eno's Music for Films and Kid A/Amnesiac by Radiohead.
The music here is broken down into two tracks (although there are really four parts in total, or five if you count the reprise of the title track at the end) with the album opening with the epic improvisation piece, Shhh/Peaceful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So far, it sounds like soothing background music, and never fails to send me to sleep. Perhaps it needs more listening time than I've given it?!Published 25 days ago by STEWART BARTLAM
A pivotal work and a timeless collection - this album transcends criticism. It's above the law.Published 5 months ago by Tom