Top positive review
91 people found this helpful
on September 23, 2000
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. Great bass by Holland and suprelative drumming by Williams sets up the foundation for the groove, which allows Miles, Shorter, Hancock, and McLaughlin to experiment with tempos, forms of playing, and moods. The results are astounding. And, as with "in a Silent way," the opening theme is again repeated for emphasis and for a trance like feel.
The group theme is becoming prevalent in Miles' muisc by this time, and its those grooves created by the rhythn section that carries this lp and allows Miles and Shorter to weave their magic. Without question on of the greatest lps ever made, "In a Silent Way" is new and fresh yet still very familiar and safe, as well.
The gem of all gems.