When I first discovered the music of Miles Davis in the late 1990s, it was something of a musical awakening for me. It came during a time when I was setting aside the strident music “purity” of my youth — you know how some people will only listen to a specific kind of music and ONLY that kind of music? — and exploring new frontiers in sound.
Miles Davis certainly provided that. His personal story was compelling, but he was more than an intriguing figure. He had the tunes to back it up. LOTS of them, an ever-shifting career filled with experimentation and attempts to push the boundaries of what he could do with his music. The man knew no rules. He CREATED rules, over and over and over, constantly reinventing himself.
I loved that. Admired it. Was influenced by it. Still am.
His big albums are the stuff of legend. Kind of Blue’s pioneering of modal jazz. Bitches Brew’s intoxicating fusion textures. Birth of the Cool creating a luscious new sound for jazz. The potent sensuality of Sketches of Spain.
One record that deserves to be praised with his best is In A Silent Way, a soft, moody record that bridges the gap between his mid-1960s experiments in hard modal jazz and the fusion records that would follow.
I love it so much, I created a short video touting its joys. Check it out: