Miles Davis
In a Silent Way


5.0
classic

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
August 17th, 2005 | 41 replies | 6,963 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


1969 was, indeed, a great year for Miles. He released Bitches Brew, one of his most critically acclaimed albums. The influence of the two disc monster is still seen in music today. As well as Bitches Brew, Miles released In A Silent. While not as famous as Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way is often rated by both critics and fans as one of Miles' best pieces of work. With an all star lineup, In A Silent Way is a much easier listen than Bitches Brew.

Album Credits
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Chick Corea - Electric Piano
Herbie Hancock - Electric Piano
John McLaughlin - Guitar
Tony Williams - Drums
Joe Zawainul - Organ, Electric Piano
Wayne Shorter - Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Dave Holland - Bass

Like Bitches Brew, this record is a relatively dark one. There are no instantly recognisable melodies or riffs. Instead, In A Silent Way revolves around layers of sound. Organs, drums and bass provide the bottom of the sound, while other instruments fill the sound out until they are soloing. The electric piano present on In A Silent Way is particularly noteworthy. Running throughout and normally playing backing riffs that need to be carefully picked out to be heard, the electric piano work on both album tracks is a major highlight. John McLaughlin makes one of the best performances of his career on In A Silent Way with some experimental solos and ambient picking. With both of those uses of his instrument, he rarely plays chords or rhythm guitar. In essence, his soloing is all through In A Silent Way and is there to be enjoyed. Indeed, one of the best things about In A Silent Way is that with all the layering, it is possible to hear a completely different album for the first few plays. Even afterwards, concentrating on just one instrument in the mix proves to be a worthwhile experience as there is something interesting happening with each player.

Imagining what went on in the sessions for In A Silent Way can be interesting. In A Silent Way must surely have one of the greatest lineups in jazz history. Picturing the state of each player, simply from what their music sounds like, In A Silent Way would have been an odd recording session (or series of sessions) indeed. It's almost as if there was a strong musical bond between the members of the record, yet they were all trying to play something different to each other. With the drumming as a background instrument, it's easy to imagine Corea and Hancock playing whatever suited them over the top of the drums and bass. Then Zawinul filling in the space between the piano and bass/drums with his strange eerie organ. McLaughlin would have heard the sound so far and added his lines to it, playing whatever he felt like at the time. Finally, Miles would have walked in and heard this layer of sound. Hearing exactly what he wanted, he would have proceeded to add his own trumpet sound to the music. This experimental approach makes for some of the most interesting jazz Miles ever released. However it came together, In A Silent Way remains as one of the pinnacles of the electric era Miles Davis as well as a true highlight of his career.

Pros
Experimental, but easy to listen to
It's easy to hear whatever you want, laid back jazz or a frenzied mess
Great solos from a truly amazing lineup

Cons
Two 20 minute songs makes navigation impossible
Drums are a little hard to hear

Reccomended Track
In a Silent Way/It's About That Time: In a Silent Way/It's About That T

FINAL RATING: 5/5



Recent reviews by this author
White Suns Waking in the ReservoirPurplene Purplene
Quiet Steps Think AloudGrinderman Grinderman 2
Jakob DominionNorma Jean Meridional
user ratings (531)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Alex Robertson STAFF (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kingadamx
August 17th 2005



120 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Excellent Review. This album is amazing, in my opinion it is much tighter and fuller than Bitches Brew. I find Bitches Brew very over-rated in most cases, so when I want to listen to experimental jazz fusion, I'll stick with Hot Rats.

Zappa
August 17th 2005



355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of Miles' near-perfect efforts. Unfortunately, I'm not that fond of the second section of the second track. It's not that I dislike it, it just doesn't hold up to the amazingness I otherwise find throughout. Still a very high 4.5 from me.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 17th 2005



2125 Comments


Wierd, I would have said that if there was any weak part it would have been the first section. It's not weak though.

DesolationRow
August 17th 2005



833 Comments


Oh man that line-up is amazing. Great review. I love his music.

kfunk89
August 31st 2005



4 Comments


Awesome album! Zappa or br3ad man, one of you should do a review on Milestones. Great album too! I love your guys' reviews, keep up the good work!!!

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 31st 2005



2125 Comments


Thanks dude. I don't actually have Milestones. My next jazz review was going to be "Time Out" by Dave Brubeck.

I hate it when people vote against your review and don't say why. It seriously sucks.

DesolationRow
August 31st 2005



833 Comments


I voted Yes, because I liked it...

kfunk89
September 2nd 2005



4 Comments


You should get Milestones!!! It's one of his best albums in my opinion. I don't have any Dave Brubeck...might have to check him out...

Woodstock
September 9th 2005



154 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bitches Brew is good, but this album just slides past as better. Great relaxing, groovy, and atmospheric album.

masada
January 30th 2006



2733 Comments


Genius.

Iscariot
February 11th 2006



21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. This is probably one of Davis' best albums.

jackINthe_box
March 11th 2006



1 Comments


this is quite possibly the most ridiculous review I've ever read.

"experimental, but easy to listen to" (I'll just paraphrase, I'm not even going to bother scrolling up, wasting my time)

well, I guess we can instantly take artists like Anthony Braxton etc out of the mix, because they're not as accessible or approachable as Mile's brand of "experimental" (I've never thought of Mile's music as ever being experimental, but so be it.)

anyway, this is a beautiful record... it should be noted that it's mostly played off of simple vamps, and the "ambient" like soloing is really what takes precedence.



br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 11th 2006



2125 Comments


So music can't be accessible and experimental? If music is experimental it's automatically difficult to listen to?

Furthermore, I'd love to see you quote where I said that inaccessible music is no good. If that's even what you're saying. To be honest, it seems like you just signed up to bitch or because you want an argument.

Krabsworth
March 19th 2006



31 Comments


This album blows Bitch's Brew out of the water...I guess you can say it is alot more musical, maybe?

For a better experience I would recommend acquiring the,"Complete In A Silent Way," box-set.

Ephemeral
May 16th 2006



144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album. I like this one more than Bitch's Brew.

Cygnus Inter Anates
June 29th 2006



721 Comments


The splicing on "Shhh/Peaceful" is basically shoddy.

Zebra
Moderator
February 17th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Out of the four Miles Davis albums that I own this is my favorite by a long shot. It just has such a cool, majestic vibe that his other albums seem to lack.

FR33L0RD
June 6th 2007



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good Review...got my vote
===============
But i do prefer "Bitches Brew 4.5/5" much more than this one.
My two centsThis Message Edited On 06.06.07

MrKite
August 26th 2008



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the best miles album i've heard.

TheGreatD17
February 21st 2009



1141 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This might be the greatest collection of musicians on a single album in history and it's certainly my favorite Miles Davis album.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy