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In a Silent Way Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

144 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, August 20, 2002
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Miles Miles

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In a Silent Way + Bitches Brew + Kind of Blue (180g Vinyl)
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Product Description

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 .

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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

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00006GO9Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,265 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Kelly on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I am not ashamed to say this- "In a Silent Way" has always been my favorite Miles Davis cd, bar none. For me, it has never been an issue. No other lp of his comes close.
I've never been able to completely pin down why that is, but it all starts with the MOOD. There is such a relaxed, ethereal feel to this lp that none of his others has. The mixing and mastering was brilliantly done on this lp. The lp is almost an ambient (as Brian Eno would describe ambient- soft, background music) experience at points, and the deliberate softer mixing of this lp causes that to happen. It creates a relaxed, almost stoned feel to the lp (which could also be part of the mood of the lp- I'm sure many of the players were dope smokers).
"In a Silent Way/It's About That Time" is for me the most beautiful piece of music Miles ever played. An early example of ambient music, the keyboards of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock form the pattern. Tony Williams plays very simple drums, and John McLaughlin adds liquid guitar solos that neither dominate, or fall under,the mix. The result is several minutes of pure trance before the soloists- Shorter,then Miles, add to the spacial textures laid out. As would be more common in Miles' 70's works, the buildup to orgasmic climax is astounding, as Miles goes off on his tangent while Williams, Corea, and bassist Dave Holland go for the ride..then, as quickly as it starts, it ends, and the theme that opened the track re-enters and closes it. Breathtaking.
"Shhh/Peaceful" foreshadows the 70's funk fusion jazz that Corea, Hancock, and Shorter would all experiment with in their respective fusion groups.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is an album of haunting and ethereal beauty - rich, layered, intricate aural landscapes that cast a deep spell no matter how many times you listen. As another reviewer here said, nothing else is quite like this. And like all true great works of art, it's not easy to describe. Sure there are elements of other music - trippy jamming; ambient trance; funky fusion; traditional improvisational jazz - but the brilliant and soulful solos by John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, and of course Miles combine with the grooves laid down by Dave Holland and Tony Williams to make music that transcends categories.
There is only one type of sound I can think of that comes close to this album. It's the sound you encounter sometimes when you're hiking through the woods, away from civilization and human noise, when your ear is suddenly caught by the interplay of the wind through the trees, animals rustling in the grass, flies buzzing, birds chirping, even your own breathing and footsteps, and everything sounds perfect, like a symphony conducted by some unseen presence. "In a Silent Way" captures that magic and freedom and freshness. It's a gift to the world that any true fan of music - any and all kinds of music - should own.
Enough words. Buy this, close your eyes, open your ears and your mind, and listen. Just listen . . . . .
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By G B on October 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This isn't the "first fusion album". This wasn't Miles Davis's first recording with electric keyboards or, for that matter, the electric guitar. He'd been experimenting with rock, soul and pop rhythms for over a year. And yet In a Silent Way really is a first. It's the first Davis album in a new, undefined style -- informed heavily by jazz, but already heading somewhere else.

It's also the last Tony Williams appearance on a Davis album. Supposedly Williams, who was starting Lifetime with organist Larry Young and guitarist John McLaughlin, was angry and paranoid at the thought of Miles poaching his star guitarist. So for most of the CD, he plays a very repetitive rhythm -- hi hat on the first half, snare on the second - except for one brief moment, which I'll get back to shortly.

McLaughlin isn't the firebrand of the Mahavishnu Orchestra or Jack Johnson; his playing is very circumspect and cautious, blending in very well with the triple-keyboard stew of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Joe Zawinul. Dave Holland grooves along with those funky basslines he's so good at producing. It's a testament to these great musicians that they constantly manage to keep things interesting in a fairly repetitive setting and never get in each other's way. Aside from a few collective improvisations by the rhythm section, the only soloists on this CD are Miles, Wayne Shorter (playing lovely, snaking lines on the soprano), and John McLaughlin.

The music, like many of the recordings Miles would make over the next six years, consists of lengthy medleys over funky vamps. In each, the first five minutes are repeated via splicing at the end. That kind of repetition would be irritating in other contexts, but here it's extremely effective.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Morales on September 19, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Most musicians go their entire careers without ever coming up with one truly original idea.

Miles Davis was the opposite, a man who never allowed himself, or his music, to get too comfortable, to get stagnant.

Sometimes the new directions he went were exciting and enjoyable to listen to, sometimes they weren't but he always pushed the envelope.

This beautiful album stands as one of the great triumphs of his life.

This is music that is as complex as any that he ever created but still is accessible and pleasing to the ear. As a result, it is music that you can listen to in any situation and enjoy.

It rewards close listening, repeated listenings yet still can function as very enjoyable background music for reading, drawing, studying etc.

The first thing you will notice about this album is the very pleasing sound of the rhythm sections comprised of Three Keyboardists, Guitar and Tony Williams fine cymbal work.

These new sounds, unlike any other in jazz up to that point, creates a dreamy, surreal soundscape which draws you in and over which the soloists can create their beautiful statements.

The two tracks both do a great job of building tension and mood. My favorite part of the album is during the track It's About That Time in which a two bar bass line groove is used to build energy throughout the guitar and soprano sax solos until Miles solo where the drummer Tony Williams goes completely nuts for a few measures. After the chill out groove of the prior music it really is a satisfying and beautiful moment.

This music is some of the most treasured I own.

I've listened to it sober, I've listened to it stoned. I've listened to it in headphones (often!) and on high end sound systems. I've listened to it laying in bed at night or reading the newspaper during the day.

Whatever the situation , it always puts me where I need to be.
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