:::My Song:::

Posted: Saturday, 29 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

In addition to his solo piano concerts and the American group he led that featured tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, Keith Jarrett was also busy in the mid-'70s with his European band, a quartet comprised of Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. Due to the popularity of the haunting "My Song," this album is the best known of the Jarrett-Garbarek collaborations and it actually is their most rewarding meeting on record. Jarrett contributed all six compositions and the results are relaxed and introspective yet full of inner tension.
:::By Scott Yanow:::

Keith Jarrett – My Song (1977) 

1. Questar (9:11)
2. My Song (6:10)
3. Tabarka (9:12)
4. Country (5:00)
5. Mandala (8:18)
6. The Journey Home (10:31)

Bass - Palle Danielsson
Drums - Jon Christensen
Piano, Percussion - Keith Jarrett
Producer - Manfred Eicher
Saxophone [Tenor And Soprano] - Jan Garbarek

Recorded November 1977 at Talent Studios, Oslo.

:::Pithecanthropus Erectus:::

Posted: Tuesday, 25 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: ,

Pithecanthropus Erectus was Charles Mingus' breakthrough as a leader, the album where he established himself as a composer of boundless imagination and a fresh new voice that, despite his ambitiously modern concepts, was firmly grounded in jazz tradition. Mingus truly discovered himself after mastering the vocabularies of bop and swing, and with Pithecanthropus Erectus he began seeking new ways to increase the evocative power of the art form and challenge his musicians (who here include altoist Jackie McLean and pianist Mal Waldron) to work outside of convention. The title cut is one of his greatest masterpieces: a four-movement tone poem depicting man's evolution from pride and accomplishment to hubris and slavery and finally to ultimate destruction. The piece is held together by a haunting, repeated theme and broken up by frenetic, sound-effect-filled interludes that grow darker as man's spirit sinks lower. It can be a little hard to follow the story line, but the whole thing seethes with a brooding intensity that comes from the soloist's extraordinary focus on the mood, rather than simply flashing their chops. Mingus' playful side surfaces on "A Foggy Day (In San Francisco)," which crams numerous sound effects (all from actual instruments) into a highly visual portrait, complete with honking cars, ringing trolleys, sirens, police whistles, change clinking on the sidewalk, and more. This was the first album where Mingus tailored his arrangements to the personalities of his musicians, teaching the pieces by ear instead of writing everything out. Perhaps that's why Pithecanthropus Erectus resembles paintings in sound -- full of sumptuous tone colors learned through Duke Ellington, but also rich in sonic details that only could have come from an adventurous modernist. And Mingus plays with the sort of raw passion that comes with the first flush of mastery. Still one of his greatest.
:::By Steve Huey:::

Charles Mingus - Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956)

1 Pithecanthropus Erectus (10:41)
2 A Foggy Day (7:53)
3 Profile Of Jackie (3:07)
4 Love Chant (14:56)

Bass - Charles Mingus
Drums - Willie Jones
Engineer - Hal Lustig , Tom Dowd
Piano - Mal Waldron
Saxophone [Alto] - Jackie McLean
Saxophone [Tenor] - J.R. Monterose
Written-By - Charles Mingus (tracks: 1, 3, 4)

Recorded on Jan 30, 1956 and released as Atlantic 1237 in 1956.
Label: Atlantic
Catalog#: 8122-75357-2

:::Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy:::

Posted: Sunday, 16 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

The second incarnation of Chick Corea's influential fusion group released only a single record, the magnificent Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy. Featuring a more rock-oriented approach than the Flora Purim-Joe Farrell band that was responsible for both Return to Forever and Light as a Feather, Corea and old standby Stanley Clarke join forces here with propulsive drummer Lenny White and electric guitarist Bill Connors. Although Connors lacks the sophistication of Al Di Meola, the young guitarist who replaced him, he possesses a deliciously raw sound that keeps Corea's heady compositions firmly grounded. White introduces a funk aspect to the music, replacing Airto's Latin grooves from the first two records. Clarke is as good, wrenching some truly frightening sounds out of his electric basses. This increased emphasis on electric instrumentation, also displayed in Corea's heavy use of synthesizers, is another thing that separates this record from the previous Return to Forever releases. And as good as the band performances are, it is the quality of the compositions that marks Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy as an indispensable disc of '70s fusion. "Captain Senor Mouse," one of Corea's finest fusion compositions, receives an excellent treatment here. Likewise, the two-part "Space Circus" is a fantastic mix of haunting and grooving elements, with some simply incredible solos thrown into the mix. With Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, Corea continues his streak of simply timeless fusion albums. The best of the electric RTF albums.
:::By Daniel Gioffre:::

Return to Forever - Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973)

1. Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy 3:28
2. After the Cosmic Rain 8:23
3. Captain Señor Mouse 8:58
4. Theme to the Mothership 8:47
5. Space Circus
Part I 1:30
Part II 4:44
6. The Game Maker 6:47

Acoustic Guitar, Guitar - Bill Connors
Bass, Bells - Stanley Clarke
Drums, Percussion, Congas, Bongos - Lenny White
Engineer - Shelly Yakus
Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Gong - Chick Corea


Posted: Saturday, 15 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

The third version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers debuted with this stunning album. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson helped give the quintet its own personality with his compositions and arrangements (contributing "Blues March," "Along Came Betty," "Are You Real," and "The Drum Thunder Suite" to this set), 20-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan quickly emerged as a powerful soloist and the funky pianist Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'" became the Messengers' first real hit. This classic album, a major influence on hard bop, is highly recommended.
:::By Scott Yanow:::

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin' (1959)

1. Moanin' (9:30)
2. Are You Real (4:45)
3. Along Came Betty (6:09)
4. The Drum Thunder Suite (7:15)
5. Blues March (6:53)
6. Come Rain Or Come Shine (5:45)
7. Moanin' (Alternate Take) (9:21)

Artwork By [Cover Photo] - Buck Hoeffler
Bass - Jymie Merritt
Drums - Art Blakey
Other [Digital Transfer] - Ron McMaster
Other [Reissue Producer] - Michael Cuscuna
Piano - Bobby Timmons
Producer - Alfred Lion
Recorded By - Rudy Van Gelder , Rudy Van Gelder
Saxophone [Tenor] - Benny Golson
Trumpet - Lee Morgan

Recorded on October 30, 1958.
Moanin' [RVG Edition] [Bonus Tracks], [Remastered], 1999
Label: Blue Note
Catalog#: 7243 4 95324 2 7

:::Imaginary Voyage:::

Posted: Friday, 14 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Fusion: a union by or as if by melting as a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole.
It may seem strange to start a review with a definition of a dictionary of the word fusion, but I believe hat in the case of Imaginary Voyage it's essential, because this single album describes perfectly what the word fusion should really mean.
Ponty takes different influences (As we’ll see later) and blends them with his own unique personality, not to obtain a hybrid but to create a new and different sound without loosing his essence and distinctive touch, but yet with obvious references to the specific genres from which he takes the influences.
In other words, less talented songwriters mix sounds and genres randomly, a great composer like Ponty blends everything with delicacy to create a different conception of music with a very defined personality.
But lets go back to the album, Ponty changes the “Aurora” lineup, Patrice Rushen is replaced by Alan Zavod on keyboards and Norman Ferrington by Marc Craney on drums and percussion. In the case of the drums I feel no dramatic difference but I like much more Rushen’s more classical approach to piano than Zavod’s eclectic style, even when the second one is more versatile, but the quality doesn’t change because all the members are very talented including Stuermer and Fowler.
The first track “New Country” is an excellent fusion of Jazz and USA folk/Country, the interesting thing is that Jean-Luc creates the country sound with his violin and the rest of the band keeps playing in a jazzy style, specially the powerful rhythm section. At one point of the song Ponty uses the piccicato technique (playing the violin with the fingers instead of the bow) creating the illusion of a banjo sound, a perfect lesson of how two styles should be blended.
In the second song “The Gardens of Babylon” the band members change the role, violin, piano bass and keyboards play a clear jazz oriented song while Darryl Stuermer adds a wonderful touch of Flamenco or classical guitar, again a new lesson of how things must be done when you want to blend two absolutely different genres without creating a mess, wonderful track.
“Wandering on the Milky Way” is a violin solo where Jean-Luc allows himself to play with his favorite instrument using all the electronic devices in which he’s pioneer in order to create a spacey atmosphere, not my favorite track, but after the first two masterpieces the man is allowed to have some fun.
“Once Upon a Dream” is a classic Jazz/Fusion song where the violin and piano take the leading role while Marc Craney keeps a perfect timing with his drums, probably with a strongest bass would have sounded much better, again not in the level of the first two tracks but very good.
Now it’s time for some aggressive playing “Tarantula” is the perfect blending of Jazz with Rock, Ponty and Stuermer work perfectly together the rock oriented section while Fowler’s strong bass and that human metronome named Marc Craney keep the Jazzy atmosphere alive, but Zavod deserves a special mention because he keeps changing from one genre to the other supporting each duet when necessary. Another masterpiece.
Maybe some purist Progheads won’t be really satisfied because they would like something more Prog’ oriented, well the epic “Imaginary Voyage” gives them more than anybody could expect on a Fusion album. This epic is divided in 4 parts:
Part I is clearly oriented towards Symphonic Prog with some references to ELP, but again Ponty is too proud and talented to copy any band, he just plays with those influences with his own unique sound, even when this part sounds 100% Symphonic, there’s still alive some Jazzy sound, but very subtle to be obvious.
Part II is a return to Jazz and Ponty’s brilliant violin sections while the band perfectly supports him, specially Zavod who does an spectacular work with the keyboards.
Part III starts with a spacey atmosphere somehow reminiscent to Pink Floyd, but again the development leads the song towards Jazz/Fusion a territory where Jean-Luc Ponty is more comfortable even when some Psychedelic touches (Similar to Santana) are evident, without doubt the richest and my favorite part of this excellent epic.
If there was any genre not worked by Ponty in this album it’s Blues, but for the pleasure of those who like me love it, Jean Luc closes this album with “Imaginary Voyage” Pt IV mostly oriented toward Blues, with again an excellent work by Daryl Stuermer, this section of the epic also recapitulates atmospheres from the other three parts, a great closer.
A few hours ago I would have rated “Imaginary Voyage” under “Aurora”, but when writing this review gave a new listen to the album and now I can’t decide which is better.
Probably according to Jazz/Fusion standards “Aurora” is more consistent, but for most Progheads “Imaginary Voyage” is so rich in styles, influences and sounds that they would like it more. In my case it’s a very hard choice, both are essential.
So I have no other option than rate it with another 5 solid stars.
:::By Iván Melgar-More::: 

Jean Luc Ponty – Imaginary Voyage (1976)
3. WANDERING ON THE MILKY WAY (Violin Solo) 1:50
Part I 2:22
Part II 4:05
Part III 5:28
Part IV 8:00

- Jean–Luc Ponty / Electric and acoustic violins, organ and background synthesizers
- Marc Craney / Percussion
- Tom Fowler / Electric bass
- Daryl Steurmer / Electric and acoustic guitars
- Allan Zavod / Electric keyboards and acoustic piano

Recorded at Kendun Studios, Burbank California - July and August 1976
1990 CD Atlantic 19136


Posted: Thursday, 13 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: ,

Grammy Nomination Best Jazz performance by a Big Band 1974
Originally on the Polydor label, this lesser-known classic (reissued on CD) teams together pianist/composer Randy Weston and arranger Melba Liston (his musical soulmate) on seven of Weston's originals. The fairly large band is filled with distinctive soloists including trumpeter Jon Faddis (19 at the time), trombonist Al Grey, Billy Harper on tenor, altoist Norris Turney (heard on three versions of "Sweet Meat," two of which were previously unreleased) and several percussionists among others. The weak points are Weston's use of the Fender Rhodes on a few songs (it waters down his personality) and Candido's chanting during an otherwise exciting version of "Hi-Fly," but those are easily compensated for by the infectious calypso "Jamaican East" and Liston's inventive reworking of "Little Niles." Recommended.
:::By Scott Yanow:::

 Randy Weston – Tanjah (1973)

1. Hi-Fly (Weston)
2. In Memory Of (Weston)
3. Sweet Meat (Weston)
4. Jamaica East (Weston)
5. Sweet Meat (Weston)
6. Tanjah (Weston)
7. The Last Day (Weston)
8. Sweat Meat (Weston)
9. Little Niles (Weston)

Randy Weston, piano
Ernie Royal trumpet, flugelhorn
Ray Copeland trumpet, flugelhorn
Jon Faddis trumpet, flugelhorn
Al Grey trombone
Jack Jeffers baritone trombone
Julius Watkins french-horn
Norris Turney alt sax, picolo
Budd Johnson tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet
Billy Harper tenor sax, flute
Danny Bank baritone sax, baritone clarinet, flute
Ron Carter bass
Rudy Collins drums
Azzedin Weston percussion
Candido Camero percussion, narrator
Omar Clay mur, lymp
Taiwo Yusve Divall alt sax, ashiko drums
Earl Williams percussion
Ahmed-Abdul Malik oud, narrator (on 7)
Delores Ivory Davis vocal (on 8)
Melba Liston arranger, director

Recorded 21 & 22 May 1973
New York USA
CD 1995 Verve 527778-2
CD 1995 Verve 10942
LP 1973 Polydor 5055 (1 & 6)

:::Total Eclipse:::

Posted: Monday, 10 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

This is Billy Cobham's third solo recording under his own name and is a fine follow-up to Crosswinds. The mini-suite "Solarization" not only showcases the band's technical abilities, but also Cobham's strong compositional skills. It also features a schizophrenic piano solo ("Second Phase") from the underrated pianist Milcho Leviev, who sounds like a mutation of Cecil Taylor and Bill Evans. The funky "Moon Germs," on which John Abercrombie is pushed to inspiring new heights, became a Cobham classic. "The Moon Ain't Made of Green Cheese" is a beautiful flugelhorn solo by Randy Brecker backed by Cobham's debut on piano. The band stretches out on the lengthy "Sea of Tranquility," while "Last Frontier" is a gratuitous drum solo. This recording is highly recommended as Cobham still sounds inspired.
:::By Robert Taylor:::

Billy Cobham – Total Eclipse (1974)

1. Solarization 11:10
I. Solarization 3:00
II. Second Phase 1:43
III. Crescent Sun 2:40
IV. Voyage 2:56
V. Solarization – Recapitulation 0:50
2. Lunaputians 2:32
3. Total Eclipse 5:59
4. Bandits 2:30
5. Moon Germs 4:55
6. The Moon Ain't Made of Green Cheese 0:58
7. Sea of Tranquility 10:44
8. Last Frontier 5:22

Bass [Electric] - Alex Blake
Drums, Drums [Traps] , Timpani [Tympany] - Billy Cobham
Engineer [Assistant] - Bob Warner
Flute, Saxophone [Soprano, Tenor] - Michael Brecker
Guitar [Electric], Acoustic Guitar [Ovation] - John Abercrombie
Keyboards - Milcho Leviev
Producer - Billy Cobham , Ken Scott
Remix, Engineer - Ken Scott
Trombone [Tenor, Bass] - Glenn Ferris
Trumpet, Flugelhorn - Randy Brecker
Written By, Arranged By - Billy Cobham

Recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios and at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY.
Re-mixed at Scorpio & Trident Studios, London.
Label: Wounded Bird
Catalog#: WOU8121

:::Western Culture:::

Posted: Thursday, 6 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

Western Culture was Henry Cow's farewell album, recorded after a protracted break during which they had become independent from Virgin Records, Chris Cutler had laid the foundations for what were to become Rock In Opposition and Recommended Records and they'd already decided to split. Much of the material which was to become the first Art Bears album had already been recorded before the band decided that the material wasn't 'Henry Cow', although the closing track 'Half The Sky' came from these sessions. With all this turmoil it's surprising that an album was made at all, and in a way it's ironic that this least showbizzy of bands should have followed the old showbiz maxim 'save the best till last'.
Western Culture is Henry Cow's most coherent album - the only one to feature only composed pieces, the only purely instumental album and the album on which Lindsay Cooper emerged as a talented composer in her own right, as well as a great musician. In creative terms, the album is a 50/50 split between Tim Hodgkinson, who wrote tracks 1 - 3 (side 1 of the vinyl original) and Lindsay Cooper (who wrote or co-wrote the remainder).
Hodgkinson's pieces on side 1 really blend into a seamless whole - brass and reeds play a prominent part here, with relatively little electric guitar but with acoustic guitar featuring prominently for the first time on a Henry Cow album. Special mention should be made of guest musician Anne Marie Roelofs, a Dutch musician who had played with them on stage, and who added some warm, blurry trombone lines to complement Cooper's bassoon - her playing is particularly effective on 'Industry' and 'The Decay Of Cities'. These compositions are a continuation of the compositional style first heard on 'Living In The Heart Of The Beast', with more of a jazz element (perhaps as a result of HC's work with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra and the Art Ensemble Of Chicago). They evoke a decaying urban landscape, with the closing piece 'On The Raft' giving a more optimistic tone with huge brass/reed chords played over a lazy tempo, the whole never quite settling into the comfortable orthodoxy that seems to be promised.
Lindsay Cooper's compositions are a more diverse selection, drawing on contemporary classical and avant garde influences. 'Falling Away' is probably the track that is closest to the avant rock style normally associated with Henry Cow. 'Gretel's Tale' features an astonishing piano contribution by Irene Schweizer, almost like John Cage plying free jazz. 'Half The Sky' takes its title from a famous quotation from Chairman Mao, also cited by John Lennon on 'Woman' a couple of years later - appropriate for a musician who would go on to be a key player in the Feminis Improvising Group.
The key players in Henry Cow continued to work together in various configurations over the years, and released a lot of fine music and exerted a massive influence on the more left field aspects of progressive rock. Odd tracks have since emerged on compilations, but there have been no reunion tours and no 'greatest hits'. Their final press release said that they would not be trapped into reproducing their past in order to secure their future, and they have been as good as third word. Western Culture is a fitting end to a remarkable career, and is an essential album of its genre.
:::By Chris Gleeson::: 

Henry Cow - Western Culture (1979)

History and Prospects
1. Industry 6:57
2. The Decay of Cities 6:55
3. On the Raft 4:01

Day by Day
4. Falling Away 7:38
5. Gretels Tale 3:57
6. Look Back 1:19
7. 1/2 the Sky 5:07
8. blank track 1:29

Additional Tracks
9. Viva Pa Ubu 4:28
10. Look Back (alt) 1:21
11. Slice 0:36

Acoustic Guitar, Guitar [Electric], Bass - Fred Frith
Bassoon, Oboe, Saxophone [Soprano, Sopranino], Tape - Lindsay Cooper
Drums, Electronic Drums, Noises, Artwork By - Chris Cutler
Organ, Clarinet, Saxophone [Alto] - Tim Hodgkinson
Recorded By, Mixed By - Etienne Conod , Henry Cow
Trombone, Violin - Annemarie Roelofs

Recorded and mixed at Sunrise Studio, Kirchberg, Switzerland, between 26th July and 8th August 1978, except track 7, January 1978.
Label: RēR (2001)
Catalog# RēR HC4

:::Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun):::

Posted: Wednesday, 5 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

After Karma was issued and Sanders had established himself -- to himself -- as a musician who had something valuable and of use to say, he was on what this critic considers to be a divinely inspired tear. Deaf Dumb Blind is an example of that inspiration. Beginning with the title cut, a suite of over 21 minutes, Sanders brings in the whole of his obsession with rhythm and R&B. Using African percussion, bylophones, shakers, cowbells, and all manner of percussion, as well as drummer Clifford Jarvis, Sanders brought in Cecil McBee to hold down the bass chair and Lonnie Liston Smith back in on piano, and added a three-piece horn section that included Gary Bartz on alto and Woody Shaw on trumpet in addition to himself. Whew! Here the Latin and African polyrhythms collide and place the horns, as large and varied as they are, in almost a supplementary role. The horns check counterpoint in striated harmony, calling and responding over the wash of bass and drums and drums and drums! It evolves into a percussion orgy before the scary otherworldly multiphonic solos begin. And Shaw and Bartz are worthy foils for Sanders. And no matter how out it gets, those rhythms keep it rooted in the soul. "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord" is almost 18 minutes in length. It has a long soprano intro, covered in shimmering bells and shakers with a glorious piano fill by Smith, who becomes more prominent, along with some excellent arco work by McBee, until the piece becomes a meditation on lyricism and silence about halfway through. The entire band eventually rejoins for a group ostinato with very little variation, except in timbre and subtle accented color work by Sanders and McBee. It is a stunningly beautiful and contemplative work that showcases how intrinsic melodic phrasing and drones were to Sanders at the time -- and still are today. This piece, and this album, is a joyful noise made in the direction of the divine, and we can feel it through the speakers, down in the place that scares us.
:::By Thom Jurek:::

Pharoah Sanders - Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun) (1970) 
1. Summun Bukmun Umyun (21:16)
2. Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord (17:46)

Bass - Cecil McBee
Drums - Clifford Jarvis
Percussion - Anthony Wiles , Gary Bartz , Lonnie Liston Smith , Nathaniel Bettis* , Woody Shaw
Piano - Lonnie Liston Smith
Producer - Ed Michel
Reissue Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Saxophone - Gary Bartz
Saxophone, Flute, Percussion - Pharoah Sanders
Trumpet - Woody Shaw

Originally released on vinyl in 1970.
Label: Impulse!
Catalog#: IMP 12652


Posted: Tuesday, 4 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Augmenting his rhythm section of bassist Richard Davis and drummer Elvin Jones with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, pianist Andrew Hill records an excellent set of subdued but adventurous post-bop with Judgment. Without any horns, the mood of the session is calmer than Black Fire, but Hill's compositions take more risks than before. Close listening reveals how he subverts hard bop structure and brings in rhythmic and harmonic elements from modal jazz and the avant-garde. The harmonic structure on each composition is quite complex, fluctuating between dissonant chords and nimble, melodic improvisations. Naturally, Hill's playing shines in this self-created context, but Hutcherson equals the pianist with his complex, provocative solos and unexpected melodic juxtapositions. Jones shifts the rhythms with style, and his solos are exceptionally musical, as is Davis' fluid bass. The combination of the band's intricate interplay and the stimulating compositions make Judgment another important release from Hill. It may require careful listening, but the results are worth it.
:::By Stephen Thomas Erlewine:::

Andrew Hill – Judgement (1964)

1. Siete Ocho 8:59
2. Flea Flop 7:23
3. Yokada Yokada 5:19
4. Alfred 7:06
5. Judgment 6:56
6. Reconciliation 7:23

Artwork By [Cover Design] - Reid Miles
Bass - Richard Davis (2)
Drums - Elvin Jones
Other [Liner Notes] - Leonard Feather
Photography [Cover Photo] - Francis Wolff
Piano, Written-By - Andrew Hill
Producer - Alfred Lion
Recorded By - Rudy Van Gelder
Vibraphone - Bobby Hutcherson

Jones performs by courtesy of Impulse Records.
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; January 8, 1964.

:::In a Silent Way:::

Posted: Sunday, 2 March 2008 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , , ,

Listening to Miles Davis' originally released version of In a Silent Way in light of the complete sessions released by Sony in 2001 (Columbia Legacy 65362) reveals just how strategic and dramatic a studio construction it was. If one listens to Joe Zawinul's original version of "In a Silent Way," it comes across as almost a folk song with a very pronounced melody. The version Miles Davis and Teo Macero assembled from the recording session in July of 1968 is anything but. There is no melody, not even a melodic frame. There are only vamps and solos, grooves layered on top of other grooves spiraling toward space but ending in silence. But even these don't begin until almost ten minutes into the piece. It's Miles and McLaughlin, sparely breathing and wending their way through a series of seemingly disconnected phrases until the groove monster kicks in. The solos are extended, digging deep into the heart of the ethereal groove, which was dark, smoky, and ashen. McLaughlin and Hancock are particularly brilliant, but Corea's solo on the Fender Rhodes is one of his most articulate and spiraling on the instrument ever. The A-side of the album, "Shhh/Peaceful," is even more so. With Tony Williams shimmering away on the cymbals in double time, Miles comes out slippery and slowly, playing over the top of the vamp, playing ostinato and moving off into more mysterious territory a moment at a time. With Zawinul's organ in the background offering the occasional swell of darkness and dimension, Miles could continue indefinitely. But McLaughlin is hovering, easing in, moving up against the organ and the trills by Hancock and Corea; Wayne Shorter hesitantly winds in and out of the mix on his soprano, filling space until it's his turn to solo. But John McLaughlin, playing solos and fills throughout (the piece is like one long dreamy solo for the guitarist), is what gives it its open quality, like a piece of music with no borders as he turns in and through the commingling keyboards as Holland paces everything along. When the first round of solos ends, Zawinul and McLaughlin and Williams usher it back in with painterly decoration and illumination from Corea and Hancock. Miles picks up on another riff created by Corea and slips in to bring back the ostinato "theme" of the work. He plays glissando right near the very end, which is the only place where the band swells and the tune moves above a whisper before Zawinul's organ fades it into silence. This disc holds up, and perhaps is even stronger because of the issue of the complete sessions. It is, along with Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew, a signature Miles Davis session from the electric era.
:::By Thom Jurek:::

Miles Davis - In a Silent Way (1969)

1. Shhh / Peaceful (18:30)
Written-By - Miles Davis
2. In A Silent Way / It's About That Time (20:00)
Written-By - Joe Zawinul , Miles Davis

Bass - Dave Holland
Drums - Tony Williams
Electric Piano - Chick Corea , Herbie Hancock
Engineer - Russ Payne , Stan Tonkel
Guitar - John McLaughlin
Organ, Electric Piano - Josef Zawinul
Other [Back Cover Notes] - Frank Glenn
Photography [Cover Photograph] - Lee Friedlander
Producer - Teo Macero
Saxophone [Tenor] - Wayne Shorter
Trumpet - Miles Davis

Shhh / Peaceful', & 'It's About That Time' by Miles Davis.
'In A Silent Way' by Joe Zawinul.