Thursday, January 26, 2006

miles smiles

I'm rather pleased to have been asked to take part in the A-Z of Music over on The Art of Noise. They've been going for a few weeks so my first effort is for the letter 'I' - after a bit of head scratching, I settled for Miles Davis' 1969 album, "In A Silent Way".

This was one of the first of Miles' attempts to perform jazz using rock sounds, leading to classics like "Bitches Brew", "A Tribute To Jack Johnson", etc. It was also one of the first times he really used editing to create pieces of music from long abstract studio jam sessions. One of my favourite examples is the way they treated the title track, written by Joe Zawinul.

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (rehearsal)

This take is pretty much the composer's arrangement, which Miles thought was too complex with too many chords. So he gave guitarist John McLaughlin one of his legendary, cryptic statements - "play it like you don't know how to play guitar" - which resulted in this beautiful piece of music.

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way

This is the piece as it was played in the studio. Miles Davis and producer Teo Macero then edited it and wrapped it 'round "It's About That Time" to make up the second of the two long tracks that make up the album "In A Silent Way".

I think the first take is...okay, but a bit too self-consciously jazzy. But the second version really got to the soul of the piece by cutting back anything unnecesary.

Both of these are taken from "The Complete 'In A Silent Way' Sessions" box set. I love a nice box set, me.

And yes, I do think it's pretty funny that, further down from my inaugural A-Z piece, someone wrote about 'indulgence' which held up Jazz as a prime example... One man's "indulgence" is another man's "expression"!

Buy - The Complete 'In A Silent Way' Sessions, or...
Buy - In A Silent Way
Visit - Miles Davis
Visit - The Art of Noise A-Z of Music: I

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