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

IN A SILENT WAY

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.38 | 397 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'In A Silent Way' - Miles Davis (8/10)

The musical excellence of Miles Davis' work aside, there is no denying that he has greatly shaped and influenced the way music has developed over the course of the 20th century. With 'In A Silent Way', Miles Davis added yet another dimension to his musical canon; that of 'fusion', which this album is widely regarded to have pioneered. Its historical relevance aside, there are some incredible things going on with 'In A Silent Way'. Assembling one of the greatest lineups that jazz has ever seen (including Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock), 'In A Silent Way' may not be as perfect as an album like 'Kind Of Blue', but as the vanguard for another era in Davis' career, the album is incredibly powerful, and rightfully deemed one of the most influential albums in the genre.

By 'fusion', this means that Miles Davis was beginning to incorporate increasing amounts of electric instruments into his sound. He brings this sound forth through two long jams, each encompassing one vinyl side. The first of these is 'Shhh/Peaceful', a fairly light meddle through electric guitars and some trumpet work. Over the course of the song, things gradually build, but the real focus is on the musicianship and chemistry between the band members, rather than any focused composition. The real highlight to the album however is in the second track, the title piece. The majority of the second track revolves around an eerie idea that gets developed upon as the blissful jam ensues, working out into a jazzy freakout from Davis himself, backed by chilled drums and nice keyboard grooves. After that, there is a very quiet reprise, featuring some ambient guitars and celestial keyboard flourishes. By the end, everything is made out to be the soundtrack to some beach sunset, relaxing and carefree. 'In A Silent Way' ends leaving the listener in a state of total calm.

The album sports some incredible work with rhythms and composition in the second half, and while the first half is not nearly as memorable, 'In A Silent Way' is made excellent throughout due to its brilliant musicianship. John McLaughlin features some of the warmest clean guitar tones I have ever heard in a recording, and the keyboardists Corea and Hancock- while not getting much room to show their skills here- really compliment the sound. The best way for me to describe 'In A Silent Way' would be to invent the term 'dream fusion'; especially in the way the keyboards are meant to scale up and down quietly over peaceful leads, everything is made out to be very surreal, and the effect of that is something that only musicians as good as these could make. A bit of a weaker first half, but 'In A Silent Way' remains an excellent piece of early jazz fusion.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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