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Mark Isham: Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project

C. Michael Bailey By

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Miles Davis 1926 - 1991. Gone these eight years (hard to believe), Miles Davis continues to compel tribute recordings. These include Herbie Hancock, et al.’s A Tribute to Miles (Warner Brothers); Benny Golson’s I Remember Miles (Evidence); Shirley Horn’s I Remember Miles (Verve); Keith Jarrett’s Bye Bye Blackbird (EMI); Cassandra Wilson’s I Travelin’ Miles (Blue Note); Endless Miles (NK2), and Carl Allen’s The Dark Side of Dewey (Evidence), just to mention a few. It seems that as these tributes are released they have begun with Davis’ earlier, less controversial, music and progressed toward his electric contributions. Mark Isham continues this trend, focusing on Davis’ post-acoustic music with Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project. The music herein is buoyantly played to great effect, punctuated with the rockin’ “Theme from Jack Johnson”, the disc’s highlight.

Reconsideration. After listening to this disc, I went to listen to the original In A Silent Way and listened with new ears. It is a masterpiece that I can better understand now that I am older, not unlike reading Tolkein’s Triology or Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles as an adult. Miles compelled his band members to establish a smooth groove that became the touchstone of those two brilliant improvisations. Through that smooth groove erupted the fusion shot heard around the world. Miles and Neil Young had a professional habit of shaking things up at the end of decades. In A Silent Way was Miles’ contribution to the end of the ‘60s.

Enough About Miles. Isham, noted new age and soundtrack composer provides us an ethereal volcano. Surrounding “Right Off” with cloud-light music, Isham cleverly combines the title theme with “Milestones” and further supports the center with an essence of “All Blues” and “Spanish Key”. The music is at once spare and complex, simple and compelling. This is not a great disc, but it does have great music on it. Worth it for “Jack Johnson” alone.


Title: Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: W.E.R.F.


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