A foreshadowing of the area between rock and jazz that he would further explore with 1970's hypnotic Bitches Brew , this was Miles' first album to feature a full-blown electric approach. Incorporating elements of classical sonata form, both of the lengthy cuts featured here defy convention with 3 distinct "movements" in which harmony, rhythm and melody take a back seat to impressionistic texture. Listen closely, and you can hear the earliest inklings of modern-day fusion on Shhh/Peaceful and the equally spacey In a Silent Way/It's About That Time .
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 color 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