MILES DAVIS — In a Silent Way (review)

MILES DAVIS — In a Silent Way album cover Album · 1969 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Warthur
Ground zero for fusion - at least from the jazz side of things (Frank Zappa had been working diligently on a fusion sound from the rock side for some time by this point). Although In a Silent Way doesn't sound very much like any of the fusion acts which would be spawned in its wake - Chick Corea's Return To Forever, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter's Weather Report, John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters work, the Tony Williams Lifetime, and Miles' own 1970s bands - it does nonetheless mark the point where a respected and widely-revered giant of the jazz scene went full electric and embraced a spirit of progressive, rock-influenced experimentation, which gave everyone the licence to follow.

Sonically speaking, it's almost ambient fusion; a swirling, foggy, soporific mass of sound out of which soloing emerges and fades from view. Kick back and relax and let it wash over you, or pay close attention to all the ins and outs of the album - it's your call, and both approaches to listening are rewarding in their own way. Plus, just look at the list of fusion acts I've outlined above whose key members performed on this album. How can any fusion fan not be interested in the sessions which brought all those talents together?
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