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Three previously unissued performances and six months of Miles Davis' recording activity mark this 3-CD set as something special. This was a transitional time for the bandleader. It marked the beginning of a fusion. The package documents this period very well. Davis wanted a new sound. With several keyboards and significant changes in personnel, he got it. The trumpeter introduced his musical changes gradually. The more radical shift would come later. These sessions are pleasant and full of intrigue. In his extensive, accompanying essay, Bob Belden analyzes the music thoroughly. He notes the revealed inspiration of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. The music in these sessions fuses with rock and soul, but doesn't stray too far from what we knew up to then as Miles Davis mainstream jazz.
His clear, open trumpet sound came from a deep respect for tone quality. Davis knew that each member of his band shared that feeling. Elements of the blues and heartfelt emotion had always been a part of his art. With this landmark recording, Davis was able to move gradually toward something new, without sacrificing the old. From Bitches' Brew on, however, many of the trumpeter's projects turned controversial. The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions occurred from September 1968 to February 1969. The reproduced sound quality is good throughout. Invaluable as a turning point in Davis' career, and still a listening pleasure, these sessions stand out as some of the best this year has wrought.
Track Listing: Mademoiselle Mabry; Frelon Brun; Two Faced; Dual Mr. Anthony Tillmon Williams Process; Splash; Splashdown; Ascent; Directions (Part I); Directions (Part II); Shhh/Peaceful; In a Silent Way (rehearsal); In a Silent Way; It's About That Time; The Ghetto Walk; Early Minor; Shhh/Peaceful (LP version); In a Silent Way/It's About That Time (LP version).
Personnel: Miles Davis- trumpet; Wayne Shorter- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock- electric piano; Joe Zawinul- organ, electric piano; John McLaughlin- electric guitar; Dave Holland- bass; Tony Williams, Joe Chambers- drums; Jack DeJohnette- drums, tambourine; Teo Macero- tambourine.