Miles Davis – In a Silent Way – 1969


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Kind of Blue had stunned and captured the jazz world
in 1959, then Bitches Brew invented the whole new genre
of avante-garde jazz fusion in 1968, and so
Miles Davis hybridized them the next year, 1969,
with the quiet album “In a Silent Way,” again with
a great assembly of jazz greats.

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July, 24, 2017

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Miles Davis – In a Silent Way – 1969

Miles Davis hybridizes bebop and jazz fusion
with the quiet album “In a Silent Way,” as usual, with
a great assembly of jazz giants.

The Daily Walk with Miracles, July 24, 2017, by Paul Evans. See Miles Davis – Kind of Blue – 1959: Master of Bebop & Fusion, The Daily Walk with Miracles, updated July 24, 2017 with discussion and many links, by Paul Evans. Video is courtesy of CBS Columbia Records and YouTube. Featured photpgraph is courtesy of Google, Jan Persson and Musings on Music, included photograph courtesy of Amazon.com and Google.

To give you some idea of the importance of Miles Davis in musical history, and very certainly in jazz history, Wikipedia says:

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in his five-decade career which kept him at the forefront of a number of major stylistic developments in jazz.

His discography “consists of at least 50 studio albums, 36 live albums, 35 compilation albums, 17 box sets, 4 soundtrack albums, 57 singles and 3 remix albums.”

Amazon stylized photograph of Miles Davis circa 1969

Since there are starting to be “remixes” of Miles Davis’ music on CD and also on YouTube, may I suggest that a starting point would be Miles Davis – 1998 Panthalassa: The Remixes by Bill Laswell, courtesy of Mr. Eddie and YouTube – 59:42.

I personally would describe “In a Silent Way” as quiet, avante-garde bebop with occult tendencies. Therefore perhaps you might have a certain minor degree of attention to the music when you listen to it, it’s a bit “insidious” and its effects creep up on you, like most esoteric effects. However I honestly don’t feel there is anything evil here at at all. In its way, it is far more effective of a vehicle for the esoteric or occult ideas in it than was his 1968 album Bitches Brew. But you don’t forget any of Miles music once you’ve listened to it.

After stunning the jazz world in 1959, with Kind of Blue, the apotheosis of modal bebop, in 1968 Miles shocked the world with an entirely different approach to jazz in his “Bitches’ Brew,” (1:45:54) of which I have owned various editions. You can easily get a 1 CD or 2 CD edition but I believe a 4 CD set is available at Amazon, too. It’s really good, Avant-garde jazz fusion, if you like that kind of thing, but don’t go by “whether or not you like ‘Kind of Blue’.” It’s a totally different approach from out of a parallel jazz universe, and I’d only buy Bitches Brew if you enjoyed listening to it first on YouTube. (LOL I think a lot of guys buy it just for the title!) Miles Davis basically defined or asserted his dominance in avante garde jazz with this recording in 1968. Miles dominated and defined bebop, and then shocked the world with Bitches Brew, which was itself basically the start of jazz fusion. (But don’t listen for any “smooth jazz” from Miles! And generally, most recordings are available to listen to for free on YouTube, but hey, it’s your money!)

In a Silent Way is a sort of religious, peaceful and yet haunting combination of avante garde jazz with overtones of the old bebop style. In other words, Kind of Blue was the thesis, Bitches Brew was the antithesis, and In a Silent Way a kind of synthesis. It’s hard to listen to either of the first two of these recordings as background music, especially Bitches Brew, but you can do that with In a Silent Way. I don’t think the effect is actually too terribly hypnotic, but it might seem that way, it’s just rhythmic and quiet music, but “kind of spooky.”

See all the great digital rights free mp3’s available for download from Amazon.com by Miles Davis. Included on this page is the important “Sketches of Spain” CD. All of Amazon’s mp3’s are high quality 256 kbs, DRM-free versions, so you can buy with confidence here. It’s where I personally get all my digital mp3’s.

In a Silent Way
Track List & Personnel

01- Shhh / Peaceful
02- In a Silent Way / It’s about That Time

Miles Davis – trumpet, composer
Wayne Shorter – soprano saxophone
John McLaughlin – electric guitar
Chick Corea – electric piano
Herbie Hancock – electric piano
Joe Zawinul – organ, composer
Dave Holland – double bass
Tony Williams – drums

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