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


Miles Davis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.30 | 648 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars There was a period a couple of months ago when I would put this album on every night as I was going to sleep. It became a sort of ritual for me, and more importantly, it gave me a chance to listen to this album without any distractions, a privilege which is rarely afforded otherwise. I will freely admit that I am not nearly as knowledgeable about jazz fusion as I would like to be, but it doesn't take an expert to realize that this album is something special. I had listened to Miles Davis before, but this was really the first album of his I really got to know, and listening to his trumpet every night in the dark was really something special.

"Shhh/Peaceful" begins the album with a piano, guitar, and organ part that is indeed fairly peaceful despite the uptempo percussion part that persistently plays behind these instruments. Some bass joins the mix and almost immediately after the unmistakable trumpet of Mr. Davis himself jumps in. I'm sure that far better writers than myself have written more than I ever will about Miles' playing, but listening to this album it's impossible not to be captivated by the clarion tone of the horn. The trumpet simply commands the piece, taking center stage and perfectly complementing the playing of the musicians behind it. After a little while piano and guitar take the lead, and it's great stuff (with McLaughlin, Corea and Hancock, how could it not be?) but the magic really returns for me when Miles jumps back in. By this point the track has stopped living up to its name and is full of energy, a trend which continues for most of the meat of the track. This is music that is by turns hypnotic, psychedelic, jazzy (duh), experimental, and above it all, great.

"In A Silent Way" begins on a much calmer note, with guitar, keyboards, and bass weaving together a lullaby-like ambience for Miles to lay a crooning trumpet part over. This motif continues for quite a while before the tempo picks up and the keyboards start laying down a little chord progression that the guitar quickly matches, then begins soloing over. The repeated piano chords create a trance-like ambience that seamlessly forays into a bass-led motif with organ backup. Over it all, of course, Miles keeps on playing some of the smoothest, most natural sounding jazz I've ever heard. I can't think of too many other 20 minute pieces built on a repeating chord progression that can keep my attention, but this one certainly can, and by the time the first motif returns the listener's had a very memorable ride indeed.

I recognize that this is a much shorter review than I usually write, but I'm sure there are others out there who have described the music far better than I've been able to. I hope though, that I have been able to impress just how good this album is. It's infinitely listenable, compelling throughout its entire 40 minutes, and most importantly, it's got heart. You can hear the passion of every single musician who appears on this release, and that's really something to be cherished. Hard to argue that this is anything short of a masterpiece.


VanVanVan | 5/5 |


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