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In a Silent Way

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Listening to Miles Davis' originally released version of In a Silent Way in light of the complete sessions released by Sony in 2001 Columbia Legacy 65362 reveals just how strategic and dramatic a studio construction it was. If one listens to Joe Zawinul's original version of "In a Silent Way," it comes across as almost a folk song with a very pronounced melody. The version Miles Davis and Teo Macero assembled from the recording session in July of 1968 is anything but. There is no melody, not even a melodic frame. There are only vamps and solos, grooves layered on top of other grooves spiraling toward space but ending in silence. But even these don't begin until almost ten ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Listening to Miles Davis' originally released version of In a Silent Way in light of the complete sessions released by Sony in 2001 Columbia Legacy 65362 reveals just how strategic and dramatic a studio construction it was. If one listens to Joe Zawinul's original version of "In a Silent Way," it comes across as almost a folk song with a very pronounced melody. The version Miles Davis and Teo Macero assembled from the recording session in July of 1968 is anything but. There is no melody, not even a melodic frame. There are only vamps and solos, grooves layered on top of other grooves spiraling toward space but ending in silence. But even these don't begin until almost ten minutes into the piece. It's Miles and McLaughlin, sparely breathing and wending their way through a series of seemingly disconnected phrases until the groove monster kicks in. The solos are extended, digging deep into the heart of the ethereal groove, which was dark, smoky, and ashen. McLaughlin and Hancock are particularly brilliant, but Corea's solo on the Fender Rhodes is one of his most articulate and spiraling on the instrument ever. The A-side of the album, "Shhh/Peaceful," is even more so. With Tony Williams shimmering away on the cymbals in double time, Miles comes out slippery and slowly, playing over the top of the vamp, playing ostinato and moving off into more mysterious territory a moment at a time. With Zawinul's organ in the background offering the occasional swell of darkness and dimension, Miles could continue indefinitely. But McLaughlin is hovering, easing in, moving up against the organ and the trills by Hancock and Corea; Wayne Shorter hesitantly winds in and out of the mix on his soprano, filling space until it's his turn to solo. But John McLaughlin, playing solos and fills throughout the piece is like one long dreamy solo for the guitarist, is what gives it its open quality, like a piece of music with no borders as he turns in and through the commingling keyboards as Holland paces everything along. When the first round of solos ends, Zawinul and McLaughlin and Williams usher it back in with painterly decoration and illumination from Corea and Hancock. Miles picks up on another riff created by Corea and slips in to bring back the ostinato "theme" of the work. He plays glissando right near the very end, which is the only place where the band swells and the tune moves above a whisper before Zawinul's organ fades it into silence. This disc holds up, and perhaps is even stronger because of the issue of the complete sessions. It is, along with Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew, a signature Miles Davis session from the electric era.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/20/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998655621
  • Catalog Number: 86556
  • Sales rank: 8,949

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Miles Davis Primary Artist, Trumpet
Herbie Hancock Electric Piano
Dave Holland Bass
John McLaughlin Guitar, Electric Guitar
Wayne Shorter Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Tony Williams Drums
Joe Zawinul Organ, Electric Piano
Chick Corea Electric Piano
Tony Ruption Williams Drums
Technical Credits
Bob Belden Reissue Producer
Michael Cuscuna Reissue Producer
Teo Macero Producer
Russ Payne Engineer, Remixing
Mark Wilder Mastering
John Ephland Liner Notes
Randall Martin Reissue Design
Lee Friedlander Cover Photo
Mark Unterberger Packaging Manager, Package Manager
Val Wilmer Back Cover
Frank Glenn Liner Notes
Stanley Tonkel Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A PHENOMENALLY LYRICAL JAZZ ALBUM...

    FIVE STARS ALL THE WAY...IT'S QUIET FIRE BURNING ON IN LOW TO MID REGISTER INTENSITY WITH A SINGLE UNBELIEVABLE CLIMAX AT THE END OF THE ALBUM. A TOTALLY NEW CONCEPT, OR SHALL I SAY A FLURRY OF NEW CONCEPTS STREAMLINED TO ACHIEVE THE GOAL OF TOTAL CAPTIVATION. THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT KNOWS NO REDUNDANCY. ONLY MILES DAVIS COULD CREATE SUCH MASTERPIECES...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews