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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In A Silent Way

Miles Davis

1969

Buy At Rough Trade
In A Silent Way
Album Summary

In a Silent Way is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis, released on July 30, 1969, on Columbia Records. Produced by Teo Macero, the album was recorded in one session date on February 18, 1969, at CBS 30th Street Studio in New York City. Macero edited and arranged Davis's recordings from the session to produce the album. Marking the beginning of his "electric" period, In a Silent Way has been regarded by music writers as Davis's first fusion recording, following a stylistic shift toward the genre in his previous records and live performances. Upon its release, the album was met by controversy among music critics, particularly those of jazz and rock music, who were divided in their reaction to its experimental musical structure and Davis's electric approach. Since its initial reception, it has been regarded by fans and critics as one of Davis's greatest and most influential works. In 2001, Columbia Legacy and Sony Music released the three-disc box set The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions, which includes additional tracks.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.61

Votes

13932

Genres

  • Jazz

Reviews

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Sat Feb 20 2021
2

Meh. This made me feel like I was on hold with my insurance company

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Fri May 21 2021
5

A masterpiece of creativity; not just the act (all albums do that, I suppose) but the feeling, the process, the thrill. Tune in and tag along as Miles & co head to destinations unknown, laying their tracks as they go, their reach just far enough ahead of their grasp that they don't fall off. Not that the journey feels precipitous, heading for the end of an unfinished bridge, oncmoing train, or slathering mouth of a recently landed outer-space monster. And that's because of THE crucial detail: we're following Miles, who's following his nose, which is the nose of a genius. So unless you're a genius (unlikely, no offense) you ain't felt nothin' like this before.

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

Miles Davis was smack in the middle of a period of profound transformation musically speaking when In A Silent Way Came Out. Inspired by his young drummer, Tony Williams, Davis was steadily abandoning the advanced harmonic underpinnings of jazz and emphasizing rock and R&B grooves in his music, putting him in the vanguard of the first wave of jazz fusion. The main thing he kept from the 2nd great quintet (Shorter, Williams, Davis, Carter, Hancock) was how the tunes themselves were just templates meant to be fleshed out in performance, and that is the case with a vengeance on In A Silent Way. The first tune, Shhh / Peaceful is 18 minutes and 15 seconds of one chord and a groove. It doesn't get any more basic than that. The only reason it works is because of the musicians: Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Tony Williams, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, and Dave Holland are seven of the greatest musicians to ever pick up an instrument. Each one is a monster player, composer, and band leader in his own right. Even so, there is precious little grandstanding on Shhh / Peaceful. Instead, the musicians weave around one another gracefully, painstakingly building the groove and providing peerless atmospherics that, in hindsight, sound almost proto-ambient. It's a little like slowly turning over the Hope diamond watching an ever changing light show through the facets. The other cut, In A Silent Way, starts with John McLaughlin stating the bucolic folk like melody over an open tuning on guitar. Originally, McLaughlin used Zawinul's jazzy chord changes, but Miles kept goading McLaughlin to go simpler, simpler. Finally, almost as a joke, McLaughlin went with an open E major chord and the rest is history. About ten minutes in, the R&B groove of It's About That Time kicks in. The band swings like crazy before ending the album with a reprise of the main theme. It's hard to overstate how successful Davis is here. On his first attempt at a communally based, performance driven, open ended rock and R&B influenced music, he comes up with a stone classic, only equaled and arguably surpassed by Bitches Brew a year later.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
4

This was chill, but not too chill. Jazz fusion wasn't as bad as I expected, and the brass instruments really shone through without having an irritating timbre. Also, the cat really liked it. Curled up like the roundest little cinnamon roll.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
2

This was just 40 minutes of kinda nothing? I have to give it at least 2 because it wasn't outright bad and I could hear there was talent behind it... but 40min of what sounded like an improv jazz interlude was a bit much. 2/5.

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Tue Apr 05 2022
2

I just can’t do this. Improvisational jazz is the oil to my water. The first couple minutes of In A Silent Way is my favorite part of the album.

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Tue Feb 08 2022
1

This is probably one of the most ignorant things I could ever say but I genuinely reckon that if I knew how to technically play a trumpet then I could do what Miles does here. Inane.

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Sat May 15 2021
5

Excellent album. Excellent moods. Seamless movement from expression to expression and every instrument contributing in a way that makes them each stand out on their own and yet somehow simultaneously get lost in a blend that is something infinitely more than the sum of those parts. Something approximating the music a rat might hear when they trying cheese and grapes together.

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Mon Nov 23 2020
5

An enthralling listen. Even if you don't know/care about its legendary status as the first jazz-rock fusion album, you will enjoy the music.

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Tue Jan 11 2022
2

When it locks into a groove, this is fine stuff. But there's too much mumbling around for this to be a fun listen. I always thought Miles was overrated and this does nothing to change my mind.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
2

Another jazz album that shows how little I know about jazz. I'd probably give this a 2.5 if I could. Don't know why, but I found it rather annoying at parts. Sorry jazz fans.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
2

Nope. While I guess I can appreciate the technical ability on display here, it's not, on any level, an enjoyable listening experience. Both tracks (because there are only two) are repetitive, atonal, empty of melody, and utterly lacking in structure. Saved from a one-star review because the musicianship is good. Too bad they didn't put those skills to better use.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
1

I don’t understand jazz. This sounds like a 40 minute warm up

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Tue Nov 24 2020
5

I ended up listening to 5 hours of Miles Davis. Smooth music

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Mon May 24 2021
5

Ethereal, spare, transcendental. Jazz but not Jazz. Ambient textures, moods over melody. A masterpiece in minimalism that continues to influence. Its ground breaking cut and paste production stitched together by Teo Macero was ahead of its time, much like this album. Bitches Brew would send out musical shockwaves across the world six months later, but all the elements of that record, albeit more restrained, were present here first.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

Man, this 1001 albums thing is getting me to reconsider jazz. Maybe my mood was right today...on another day I might have complained that essentially they're noodling around a couple of themes for 20 minutes, but the word that kept coming to my mind was CAPTIVATING. Both pieces just evoked certain moods and I found myself transfixed throughout my first listen. Time went by faster than I expected - I was actually surprised each piece was over, even though both clock in at almost 20 minutes (can't believe they recorded this thing in a day). Again, maybe I just caught it on exactly the right day at exactly the right time, but it connected with me. Second listen (a little more background this time - I had work to do!) was just as enjoyable and I was again surprised when it was over. Gotta give it a 5 for that captivating feeling. Wow.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

This is a beautiful, dreamy album. It's one of his first forays in jazz fusion and it's a winner. I've listened to it enough times to know that this Aussie gives it five bags of Pods out of five.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
5

A hypnotic album that sits at the end of one era and the beginning of the next, while remaining its own thing.

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Tue Feb 27 2024
5

Going into this album preemptively knowing everything I did about Miles Davis, this album was pretty much exactly what I expected. There was only 1 thing about this that subverted my expectations; I loved it. The idea of listening to two 20 minute long instrumental experimental jazz songs was daunting, but wow it was great. Somehow it manages to remain interesting all the way through and keep my attention without being annoying or repetitive. I also love how immersive this album feels, there are very few albums out there where I can just sit down and listen to them, I almost always have to be doing something, even if it's small. But with this, the music is so immersive that I can literally just sit down and listen to it and not feel the need to distract myself with anything. Which is especially impressive considering that this is also in instrumental album.

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Mon Mar 04 2024
5

Do I have to do this? Yes, I will do this. This is the album that changed my life, and that still surprises me anew every so often. Of the many things I have learnt (thus far) from In A Silent Way, the most influential was the presence of the edit as a live instrument. The raw material was recorded in a three hour session; Miles and Macero did not rearrange it as much as reconceptualize it, conjuring something that clearly belonged to the source but said something different altogether. One gets the sense of working through a maze in the dark: there is a destination, but experimentation, muscle memory and optimism are the only things that can take you to that end point. It is an exaggeration to say that if I had to chose my Desert Island Discs, I'd take eight copies of this one. But I would be quite happy with this alone, should it come to it.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
5

...I somehow thought this would be boring. Amazing!!! I feel like I'm listening to Pink Floyd for the first time again. That trumpet is godly. I get why people like Jazz now. SO MUCH SOUL IN THIS. Had me grinning like a maniac.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
4

I can dig it. Some parts are a little too jazz noodling for me but I absolutely loved In a Silent Way. Cool guy.

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Tue Feb 06 2024
3

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Perfect Sunday morning vibes. What a joy

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

Finally, another jazz album, and one that I dearly love. Miles Davis never ceases to amaze me with the diversity of approaches to jazz that he was able to master 5/5

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

Only two songs, but amazing. The sections weave seamlessly together.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

The LP mixes are lo g but very worth it. Contemplating putting on my playlist

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Very Jazz. Really enjoyed it. Great background music whilst I work. Must revisit. It was a soundscape.

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Mon Apr 19 2021
5

Very nice tunes, special for letting the mind go

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Mon Feb 22 2021
5

Ambiance jazz music for days

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Mon May 24 2021
5

I LOVE ELECTRIC MILES! The music feels like drugs without the drugs. This period always feels fresh and exciting no matter how many times you listen.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Infelizmente não consigo ouvir o gênero sem tratá-lo como música ambiente. MAS É UMA BAITA MÚSICA AMBIENTE!!

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

There was nothing I didn't like, fantastic vibes

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

Lovely and relaxing, o my had ever listened to kind of blue

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

Was a little confused when it was 30+ minutes but only two songs. Then I listened and was straight vibin

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Sun Apr 25 2021
5

Pushing the boundaries of Jazz but still accessible. Mind blowing. There's only two tracks so for this one I only chose one. Best Tracks: Shhh/Peaceful

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Wow, this album is stellar. Two tracks, the musicians all seem so in-tune with each other, but it all feels so relaxed and original. (This list is really getting me into Miles I guess?) 4.5/5

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Thu May 20 2021
5

Two songs, too good. Generational talent.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

To sanger på ~20 minutter hver? Elsk! Det er lite variasjon på denne plata, men hvert spor baserer seg på enkle idéer som blir utviklet etterhvert som tiden går, og det er spennende å høre hvordan instrumentene hopper rundt den samme idéen. Alle instrumentene får tid til å skinne, elsker hvordan de komplimenterer hverandre gjennom små licks og call/responses. Dette er virkelig musikk som man virkelig må lytte til. Fikk en mye bedre opplevelse av å fokusere på musikken, fremfor å ha den på i bakgrunnen.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

Life is a river, and you can either yield to the currents or kick against it. Miles knows that, and finds that by yielding to the currents you wind up down all manner of tributaries you never expected to go down, and drift past sights you’d never have the time to notice if you’re kicking. And anyway, you all end up at the same place downriver anyway. It’s the journey isn’t it? Suffice to say, I loved it.

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Mon May 17 2021
5

A masterpiece! Entrancing, intoxicating grooves

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Wed Jul 28 2021
5

I find it difficult to write about jazz because the whole world of it seems so untouchable, so magnificent that mere words cannot describe the blood, sweat, and tears put into the records around this time. Miles Davis is, of course, a household name in this regard. His work can be appreciated around the world, and this is an album for the books. It's so simple, yet so much is happening underneath the surface, it's surreal. I can't not call it perfection. Miles Davis is a master of sound. What more can I say?

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Tue Aug 10 2021
5

Miles Davis' work is always intriguing to me, and I'm so glad I was introduced to this album. He was always evolving and experimenting, maintaining his artistry at each step. What a treasure.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

Wow! This, I really like. Great ambient music. Played this constantly all day, and despite the repetitive riffs, it never bores - always something new going on behind it. My only disappointment is not being able to make out John McLaughlin's guitar at all over the whole album. One of the greatest ever, and I can't hear him at all! Otherwise, flawless. Just wonderful.

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Mon Aug 23 2021
5

I am not well versed in music theory, or any of that kind of smart music. That being said, there are several jazz albums that I really like, and In A Silent Way is one of them. There's something so lively about the music and perfect about this album that fails to come through on a lot of other jazz "classics" in my opinion. While the mix isn't perfect, it makes the songs feel more lived in if that makes any sense at all. I want to liken it to a hole in the wall that you find walking downtown and enter the most beautiful jazz club with the best jazz you've ever heard. The gut reaction is to live in that moment and take it all in, but since its a live jazz improvisation, you want to get a recording of it, so you put your phone down on the table to maybe capture some of the magic of the moment. Words are difficult. I really enjoyed this jazz album, and I hope you do too. Highlights: 1, and 2.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

Awesome jazz album! Only two tracks, which is pretty wild. Highly recommend

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

Sometimes my favorite MD album, always reveals new and interesting elements with each new listen. Until yesterday Bitch's Brew was new to me but not new to me because In a Silent Way is an old favorite cloth. Bitches Brew might be more ambitious and more varied but I still prefer In a Silent Way for its more consistent mood and its the beautiful atmosphere it creates in each song. No brainer; 5 stars

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

The album one would listen during a lonesome walk through a crisply lit alley

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Sometimes my favorite MD album, always reveals new and interesting elements with each new listen. Until yesterday Bitch's Brew was new to me but not new to me because In a Silent Way is an old favorite cloth. Bitches Brew might be more ambitious and more varied but I still prefer In a Silent Way for its more consistent mood and its the beautiful atmosphere it creates in each song. No brainer; 5

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Tue Oct 05 2021
5

Ничего не понял, но очень классно

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

Beautiful, an album uniquely it's own. Yet another reason for why Miles Davis is such a musical icon

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Sat Oct 16 2021
5

Sat afternoon chill crossword

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

5.0 - If “In A Silent Way" sounds like the onset of sweet slumber, "Bitches' Brew" is your feverish nightmare. I hear many similarities between the two records - the echoey trumpet, the interplay between electric organ and guitar, the approach to composition involving the stitching together of recordings from different sessions. Whereas BB rejoices in chaotic explosions and jagged textures, "In A Silent Way" floats in a gentle and hushed dreamscape.

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

Like a soundtrack to the best neo noir film never made.

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Sat Nov 20 2021
5

Shhhhhhhhhhhh Quiet jazz for when you don’t want to be loud Shhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Sun Nov 21 2021
5

Really vibey. I got lost in the middle of the songs because they were so great, but the ends of the songs were pretty boring

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Tue Nov 30 2021
5

This album cover must be where Wilf Zaha got his famous pained expression from. the one that says, i'm hurt and innocent and i can't believe someone would do that to me because i'm a saint. the album is more berbatov than wilf zaha. smooth, a bit weird and smoking a cigarello. just like berbatov i like this album more than zaha

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

nice.... this is so easy to listen to, makes me understand Miles Davis as a thing, so many of his "top hits" are pretty esoteric to come into cold not having heard his foundational stuff. Really happy to be made aware of this one!!!

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Wed Dec 08 2021
5

Two tracks totalling 38 minutes or so. Both beautiful, varied, lush and full of energy. Never heard these pieces before, and loved listening to them. Highly recommended

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Tue Jan 11 2022
5

Can’t go wrong with any of this. Driving, chilling, working, eating, partying, unwinding. It’s always a good time to put on Miles.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Bitches Brew gets a lot of acclaim, but this transition album sees the advent of fusion. Here we can see the development from modal jazz forms to include more blues, funk, and even some rock elements. This album is also more accessible.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

This is not only one of my favorite Jazz albums but is up there as one of my favorite albums of all time. The mood that is created from the opening organ to the final notes on side two takes me somewhere that I cannot put into words. I say Jazz album because that's how it is categorized (or as fusion) but it's a different entity altogether. I find it unfortunate that this album is usually shadowed by Bitches Brew which follows mainly because it's more experimental and is generally regarded as a landmark in fusion but this album seems to have come from another world or another time. You don't know if it's the future or the distant past because at the same time it sounds timeless. I think 10, 100, 500 years this album continue to amaze people with it's beauty, subtly, and gentleness.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

Big Miles Davis fan. I don't listen to him as much as I should. It's funny how in jazz an album with just two tracks is regarded highly whereas in rock it's regarded as pretentious. Anyway, "In A Silent Way" is always a good one. I like how each piece gets their chance to shine. It's nice to hear the guitar in there along with sax and trumpet. A classic for me.

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

Magnificent fusion jazz album. Very atmospheric, music speaks for itself, the reflective melancholic vibe comes through 100%. Miles Davis being genius as always.

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

Very nice. One of my favorites

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

Oh, this is lush! I could listen to this looped all day. Love those repetitive bass lines that come in and just get everything grooving. Reminds me of afrobeat, a little. Fave track - The "It's About That Time" section of track 2 SLAPS.

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Mon Feb 14 2022
5

Jazz de Miles Davis. Vinilo.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

Miles Davis, a name associated with jazz greatness even via hearsay puts all rumors to rest here. Truth be told, this is more than jazz. Sure, the elements of jazz are here but this is somehow more. Jazz is highly specific in the type of fan it garners, but "In A Silent Way" seems to reach beyond that. Jazz tends to get lost on most people, this reviewer included, but where this album shines is that there is a constant guide through both tracks that helps maintain bearings. While not the repetitive grandeur of Ravel's "Bolero", "In A Silent Way" keeps to a formula and builds on it layer after layer after layer giving this album a newness at each depth worth exploring over and over.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

I never feel up to the task writing down my thoughts about giant albums like this. What can I say that’s not already been said? In cases like this, I just stay away from all reviews and scribble down my disjointed thoughts as I listen. This album is a music painting. I can hear the colors. The sounds are stroke patterns and wet paint, layer by layer, from the undefined center to the consummate edges.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Masterpiece. Loved this bad boy for years. I used to drive the wife crazy by singing along to all the instrumental lines.

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Sat Mar 12 2022
5

Spacey organ piano trumpet mishmash. A trippy sound and Miles Davis classic. Interesting electronic vibe.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
5

My copy is a bit worn out, isn't it? I might prefer On A Corner, but this is still ace. Nothing I could say about it that hasn't been said before.

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