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Miles Davis was going through exciting musical changes in 1968, listening and playing things which were leading him into the future and into In a Silent Way. His music and lifestyle were being influenced by a wave of new sounds and ideas, and he was responding deeply to the music of James Brown, Sly Stone, and Jimi Hendrix. Having already pushed acoustic jazz to the limits with his mid-Sixties quintet, Miles metamorphosed the new sounds around him, creating a work of enduring magnificence. On the title track, Miles threw away Joe Zawinul's cord sheets, transforming the original melody of "In A Silent Way" into a sublime electric mantra that was overwhelmingly beautiful and fresh. On "Shhh/Peaceful," Dave Holland and John McLaughlin intertwine to create a circularly repeating rhythm which melds elements of traditional Indian music to subtle funk, creating a trance-like groove. The three pianos of Hancock, Corea, and Zawinul play as extensions of one another, perfectly washing across the spaces left open in the rhythm without cluttering it through over-playing. Egos gave way to unity in this miraculous session. In a Silent Way represents one of the most important self-declarations of artistic independence to ever go down in jazz history. This was not "jazz" aimed at its traditional audience, but rather a new thing directed at the counter-culture that was busy turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. The album is psychedelic, spiritual, peaceful, funky, and complex. It has the power to transport those willing and able to give themselves over to the kind of close listening that it deserves. And it delivers a hypnotic vibe for those intent on chilling with soothing sounds in the background. This is music to experience, so get experienced
Track Listing: Shhh/Peaceful (17:58), In A Silent Way/It's About That Time (19:57)
Personnel: Miles Davis: Trumptet, Wayne Shorter: Saxophone, Herbie Hancock: Electric Piano, Chick Corea: Electric Piano, Josef Zawinul: Electric Piano and Organ, John McLaughlin: Guitar, Dave Holland: Bass, Tony Williams: Drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.