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In a Silent Way Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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In A Silent Way
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, August 20, 2002
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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.Read more ›
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 . . . . .
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.Read more ›
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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