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Miles Davis - In a Silent Way CD (album) cover

IN A SILENT WAY

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.38 | 409 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Shape of Jazz to Come

Before Soft Machine, Frank Zappa, Santana, Nucleus and any other group which played a style that approximated to the jazz rock sound we all know that groups such as Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report popularized, there was Miles Davis and his ''electric'' bands, in which he fused jazz compositions with rock instrumentation such as the electric guitar, the organ and electric keyboards. While Miles was definitely not the first Jazz musician to use an organ or electric guitar in music, but he sure was one of the first to use them with a rock-approach and the result was this, Bitches Brew and a whole bunch of other innovating albums released through the first half of the seventies.

In A Silent Way features a wide variety of musicians in which after this album(and Bitches Brew) would later go and form their own band inspired by the experience these albums by Miles Davis gave them: John McLaughlin who would later make his own powerful and groundbreaking Jazz Rock band, Joe Zawinul would join forces with Wayne Shorter to create Weather Report, Chick Corea would lead his own Jazz Rock group called Return to Forever, Herbie Hancock would create some weird and innovating avant-fusion stuff under his own name, while Dave Holland and Tony Williams would get there name as highly capable jazz/fusion musicians.

However, don't let this five-star line-up trick you, in here they don't play as they would later be known-of. Quite on the contrary, all musicians on board play as-a-whole settling some fantastic, though very subtle, jazz moods in both 18+ minutes compositions, yes that goes for John McLaughlin too. Chick and Herbie are playing some very warm and delicate electric keyboards to full-fill that gentle mood but also giving the compositions some groovy aspect, while Joe plays the organ giving a very mysterious atmosphere, very ala Larry Young(who was the one intended to play the organ in the first place!). Tony is probably the one which gives less interest, but that doesn't take credit for his essential though tranquil rhythms he settles, while Dave every now and then supports some notes to give more depth to the notes already played by the keyboard players. Miles and Wayne do the same job as both keyboardists and guitarist, adding a grabbing, though repetitive and smooth, melody.

As a result, both compositions really trap you into an aura of tenderness and nothingness in which flows without a single flaw. Indeed they played in a silent, but oh so effective and gentle, way!

While definitely you got to be able to listen to some jazz music to appreciate this, you're not obliged to love the genre. A truly groundbreaking record of the time, and a definite classic of Jazz Rock and Progressive Music; you might not be able to appreciate this at first listen since it's rather long and very subtle, but some dedicated time is sure to please you in the end, that is if you can handle music without riffs, flashy solos and whatever that the modern Prog stereotype is about.

5 stars: not a masterpiece of 70s fusion, because, well, it wasn't released in the 70s! But also because it's not really "fusion" in the way Mahavishnu Orchestra and the like are. In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew are the foundations of the fusion movement, let's call it Proto Fusion of the best kind.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |

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