In a Silent Way  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In a Silent Way is a 1969 album by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Although previous Davis records and live performances had already begun the shift to jazz fusion, In a Silent Way featured a full-blown electric approach. For this and other reasons, it is usually regarded as the first of his fusion recordings. It is also the first recording by Davis that was largely constructed by the editing and arrangement of producer Teo Macero. Macero's editing techniques are said to have incorporated elements of classical sonata form in Davis' recordings for In a Silent Way. Both of the extended tracks on the album consist of three distinct parts that could be thought of as an exposition, development and recapitulation. The last six minutes of the first track are actually the first six minutes of the same track repeated in exactly the same form. With this "trick" the track took on a more understandable structure.

The album featured virtuoso guitarist and newcomer John McLaughlin, who had one month prior to the February 18th In a Silent Way session recorded his classic debut album Extrapolation. At the request of Tony Williams, McLaughlin moved in early February from England to the US to play with The Tony Williams Lifetime. Williams brought McLaughlin to Davis' house the night before the scheduled session for In a Silent Way. Davis had not heard the guitarist before, but was so impressed that he told him to show up at the studio the next day. McLaughlin would go on to great fame in the 1970s as leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Davis' next fusion album, Bitches Brew, showed him moving even further into the area that lay between the genres of rock and jazz. The dark, fractured dissonance of Bitches Brew ultimately proved to be instrumental in its success; it far outsold In a Silent Way.

In 2001, Columbia Legacy/Sony Music released The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions, a three-disc box set which included the unedited recordings used to produce the original album, In a Silent Way as originally edited, and additional tracks.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "In a Silent Way" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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