(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Herbie Hancock-Electric Piano
ChicK Corea-Electric Piano
Wayne Shorter-Soprano Saxaphone
Dave Holland-Acoustic Bass
Josef Zawinul-Electric Piano and Organ
John McLaughlin-Electric Guitar
The great Miles Davis, despite being the sonofabrooklynbrige he was, had a great knack for talent, and throughout his tenure as a leading figure in the jazz world, he helped to set many trends within the genre: Bop (Birth Of Cool), Hard Bop (Round 'Bout Midnight, Kind Of Blue) Post Bop(Esp, Miles Smiles) Orchestral modal (Sketches of Spain) along the way paying for some of Jazz greats as John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones (his first and greatest quintet), Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, are just a few of the greats that passed through his bands, but the mention of his mid-sixties helped shape the trend for what would later be termed "fusion" or jazz-rock.
During the mid-sixties, Miles Davis had assembled a great, and young lineup of wunderkninds: Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on acoustic bass and the greatest jazz drummer of the sixties, Tony Williams. Upon Coltrane leaving Miles' band in 1959, John recommended that he take on a youngster by the name of Wayne Shorter as a replacement, but Miles being what he was, told John to go screw himself, and decided to look for a replacement himself. Giants like Hank Mobley, Sonny Stitt and George Coleman filled in, but Miles was not happy, so he offered Wayne Shorter the job in 1964, and from there, Mile's second greatest (most influential on today's scene) went on to change the face of jazz as the band's experimentations, mixed with the current music scene (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Cream, James Brown, Motown, Ornette Coleman) set the precedence with albums like ESP, Miles Smiles, Nefertiti and Sorcerer.
Miles recruited guitarist Joe Beck for his a track called "Circle In The Round" ( a first for Miles) and also marked the first time Herbie played anything but a piano in studio, the instrument being a celeste. But it was with his next album that Miles began to mix things up, with the Miles In The Sky album, which Ron Carter played an electric bass and Herbie Hancock playing an electric piano. Although far from the best thing this Quintet did, it was ground breaking session as for a young guitarist named George Benson played on a couple of tracks.
Files De Kilamanjaro was next and those sessions ushered ex-Cannonball Adderley Keyboardist Josef Zawinul, A young Chick Corea and English sensation Dave Holland on Bass. Miles Davis always looking for that edge, knew that Ron Carter was from the jazz school, and his approach to the electric bass was not what Miles had in mind, so Dave, although a classic trained cellist, had been influenced by the likes of Jack Bruce and Noel Redding in his electric bass, so Miles brought him along.
The In A Silent Way sessions was one to behold as for a lot of major players in the upcoming fusion era came from these sessions, but depite that being said, In a Silent Way is as lush as the first track "Shhh/Peaceful" suggests, as for the band adds a layer of "ambience" around the soloing of John McLaughlin's guitar, Miles trumpet and the innovative soprano sax of jazz great, Wayne Shorter. Tony Williams also plays a major part in his last studio album with Miles, as he proves how truly great he is, by playing only cymbals (via Brushes) on the first track and drum shelling throughout most of the second track.
In A Silent Way might not be the loudest album on the face of the world, but it is Miles Davis vision at its infancy before all hell was to break loose on his next release.
Album Rating; Five Stars