Nice analysis of one of the truly great albums. Miles Davis understood that the studio was itself an instrument at his disposal. In a Silent Way may have been the first Jazz album that didn’t merely use the studio to capture the sound of a band.
In a Silent Way is my favorite Miles Davis album, possibly my favorite jazz album, and one of my favorite works of music generally. Most of Miles’ music of this era is ornery and angular, but In a Silent Way is like slipping into a warm bath. The music hardly sounds like “jazz” at all. It has elements of rock and funk, but it doesn’t really sound like those either. With its three keyboard players, ultra-minimal drums and static harmonies, the album sounds more like ambient electronic music than anything else.
Two of the three “songs” were built from tape editing in postproduction, effectively making them remixes of themselves. And while the music as performed was largely improvised, the album has clear large-scale organization.
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