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Miles Davis – In a Silent Way (1969)

March 10, 2017

 

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Sensational logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 523/1001]

Hundreds of artists have a single album on the 1001 list.

Dozens have a pair.

Several have a hat trick.

An elite few have more than a quartet.

And when I think of the artists with exactly 4 albums on the 1001 list, the letter “M” springs to mind.

As in Metallica. As in Morrissey. As in Miles.

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If you asked me in 2011, I would have been outraged. Only four Morrissey (Viva Hate, Your Arsenal, Vauxhall & I, You Are The Quarry) albums? Unacceptable!

But while I enjoy many more than just those four, I can see that there’s a, let’s put a positive spin on this, consistency to his work: if you love/hate one, chances are you’ll feel that way about the rest.

With Metallica, I can see why the editors selected these four albums (Master of Puppets, …And Justice, Metallica, Symphony & Metallica), but I imagine lifelong fans would choose differently.

Few would argue that Metallica has no business being on the list. That being said, some might suggest that choosing any one of their albums that features loud &/or fast playing with over-enunciated consonants-SAH would work as a representative sample.

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However, with Miles Davis, I can’t see anyone making too much of a fuss over his four inclusions (Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew).

Kind of Blue‘s sparseness could not be further from the supreme density of Bitches Brew.

Birth of the Cool’s toe-tapping tempos have little in common with the subtle grooves of In a Silent Way.

They’re all remarkably different.Miles-davis-in-a-silent-way

So perhaps it’s the differences between his recordings that make Mr. Davis such a remarkable artist.

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Finally, I find it curious that the adjective often used to describe Miles is “cool.”

Curious, in that the adjective ‘cool’ should indicate something that would be fleeting, polarizing, and based largely on surface-level appeal.

While I don`t deny his ‘coolness,’ I wouldn’t say that any of those descriptions apply to him.

There’s nothing fleeting about his popularity: his work will be revered for decades to come.

Even those who have less than no interest in jazz can’t help but admire his talent.

And if someone labelled his work as superficial? I’d fear their definition of substantial!

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Verbalize the Positive

Happy March Break!

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From → 1960s

13 Comments
  1. Interesting write up, thanks! Prolific and succinct — a sign of genius that is certainly Miles Davis.

  2. Have a great week off Sir! Miles Away!

  3. What I took from this: Morrissey has the same number of albums on the 1001 as Miles fricken Davis!? What!? A guy who has changed the shape and tone of jazz many time over…!?

    But yeah, Miles was my doorway to jazz. Was actually listening to some Kind Of Blue earlier!

    • And Morrissey was my doorway to ‘sad bastard’ music – so I’ll forever be unreasonable about him!
      I love Quincy Jones’ line about Kind of Blue “It’s my orange juice, I need it every day” – I might have to have some myself today!

      • Haha. That’s fair enough. There are artists I’m daft about that I’d love to see on that list, but likely won’t… and therefore I’ll be a bit annoyed about it. Especially when there are 4 Morrissey albums! Haha!

        Kind Of Blue is an album I can consume every day also. It’s just perfect.

      • F****** Morrissey!!

      • Sorry I forgot to put the “viewer discretion advised” warning on this one Joe!

  4. I didn’t realize 3 M’s had four albums in the book. Whilst Metallica and Mozzer I relish reviewing, I’m almost terrified by the thought of wading through Davis’ records.

  5. Somehow I missed this one. Rectifying this oversiiiiight now!

    “Only four Morrissey (Viva Hate, Your Arsenal, Vauxhall & I, You Are The Quarry) albums? Unacceptable!” Haha I would have said “He has one on there? Why?” But to each their own and fair play! 🙂

    Interesting… I don’t know which Metallicas I’d choose. Um, Master Of Puppets, Ride The Lightning, …And Justice For All, and Black? Sure.

    I don’t envy the folks that had to narrow Miles down to 4 records. That’s just inhumane. The four they picked are great, but there’s so much more. As for him being cool, ask Wynton Marsalis about his impromptu meeting with the man…

    http://wyntonmarsalis.org/blog/entry/my-1986-encounter-with-miles-davis-in-vancouver

    Anyway, IASW is pure gorgeous. Love it. Love love love. Definitely needs to be there!

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