Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

On this date in 1969, jazz giant Miles Davis released one of his most important and integral albums, In A Silent Way.

Marking the beginning of Davis’s electric/fusion period, the record angered jazz purists who weren’t thrilled with the direction Miles was going in with this album, yet it gained accolades from journalists who appreciated the unpredictable, uncharted territory he was heading into.

Featuring the talents of renowned musicians like saxophone player Wayne Shorter, guitarist John McLaughlin and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, In A Silent Way is now regarded as a milestone in Davis’s career and has spawned a multi-disc box set chronicling the recording sessions for this superb album (although all the sessions for the record were recorded throughout one single day in February of 1969).

Miles Davis – Electric Jazz-Fusion

Cover of "In a Silent Way"
Cover of In a Silent Way

I  should have made this blog post about Miles Davis the first post for the four-part jazz/rock fusion series this week. Miles invented jazz/rock fusion beginning with In A Silent Way in 1969.

My aim with this blog post is to celebrate Miles Davis’s leadership role in forging the electric jazz-fusion genre. It is my favorite Miles period in his evolutionary path.

One definitive work I discovered while researching Miles’s electric period is the book, Miles Beyond: The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967-1991 by Paul Tingen. It covers Mile’s electric period in-depth. His companion Web site which is chock full of information is here.

I found it interesting as I researched the jazz/rock fusion artists the intersection points with Miles Davis. The Miles Davis school of jazz gave birth to Tony Williams and John McLaughlin, among many others. Miles nurtured a rich, mother vein of talent that he mined and shared with the universe. Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Dave Holland, Sonny Sharrock, Bennie Maupin, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, the list of jazz infamous goes on and on…..

John McLaughlin played a key role in Miles Davis’s formation and evolution of electric jazz-fusion. He is featured on In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, A Tribute To Jack Johnson, Big Fun and On The Corner.

A pivotal point in Miles Davis’s electric jazz/fusion is the Isle of Wight concert that takes place before 600,000+ people in 1970. The largest human gathering of its time, exceeding the population of Woodstock the year before.

Miles Electric, A Different Kind of Blue documents this event on DVD.