In A Silent Way – Miles Davis (1969)

Album no. 146/1001

Our jazzy mate Miles Davis is back, this time trying his hand at a bit of jazz-rock fusion, which sounds terrible but is actually awesome.

This album marks the beginning of his ‘electric’ period, where there were electric guitars and electric organ and all sorts of not-jazz-specific instrumentation. It was also all recorded in one session.

At the time this album was released, critics either loved it or hated it for it’s exploration into jazz and rock music ~TOGETHER~ which had been sacrilegious for years.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. My history with Miles Davis has been well established.

NK: No, but I’m glad to see him again.

Standout track

CL: GIVEN THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO SONGS THE CHOICE IS IMPOSSIBLE.

NK: Yeah this question doesn’t really work here.

CL: In all seriousness though, I’m struggling to name a standout because I think they’re both WONDERFUL.

NK: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

CL: WHAT? I know. I think the best thing about ‘Shh/Peaceful’ is the drumming – the song goes for 18 minutes but the drums make it seem like it’s just getting started – even 10 minutes in.

NK: I like both of these too! I tried to pick one or the other, and I think maaaaaaaaybe I’d pick side 2, ‘In A Silent Way’, but I loved the first track too. The beginning of side 2 with the keyboard and guitars creeping in is just incredible. Makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: In the night-times. Or covering a montage of a raining inner city street in a noir movie.

NK: I had this on at work and it was great! This can fade into the background quite nicely, but if you pay attention you kind of get drawn in. I really liked this!

CL: You can read legendary rock critic Lester Bang’s review from 1969 here – suffice to say, he liked the record.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: This album sees Miles taking a pretty different turn – rather than going mad on the trumpet and letting everyone have a little turn improvising (for better or worse), this hangs together as a really cohesive soundtrack. I’d say it sounds less ‘Advanced Jazz 101’ and more ‘Jazz Intermediate: for beginners’.

NK: It’s definitely more accessible. There’s more ambience, maybe less music. I get a really late night vibe from this album. I like the different instruments, the guitar at the start of side 2, the organ, the drums keeping everything together. It’s really good.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Yes. I KNOW. Insane.

NK: You bet!

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to In A Silent Way on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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