Miles Davis – In a Silent Way (1969) – Columbia/Mobile Fidelity stereo-only SACD UDACD 2088, 38:10 *****:
(Miles Davis, trumpet; Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea, elec. piano; Wayne Shorter, tenor sax; Dave Holland, bass; Josef Zawinul, elec. piano & organ; John McLaughlin guitar; Tony Williams, drums
Miles Davis – Four & More – Recorded Live in Concert – Columbia/Mobile Fidelity stereo-only SACD UDACD 2087 ****:
(Miles Davis, trumpet; Herbie Hancock, piano; Gerge Coleman, tenor sax; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums)
These are both among the finest sessions Miles ever put together. In a Silent Way was his first entry into the electric performance area, though it is really neither fusion nor jazz nor classical. One writer described it as “the sound of Miles Davis and Teo Macero feeling their way down an unlit hall at three in the morning.” It heralded a sort of transcendental new music which did away with categories and concentrated on deep originaltiy and emotion. Miles was always seeking something new in music, but this session was one of his most original of all. Originally it didn’t go over well with the critics, but is now regarded as one of his best.
Much of the album is not a continuous recording, but consists of various sections of takes which were edited together and arranged by Teo Macero. For example, the last six minutes of Track 1 are identical with the first six minutes of that track, giving it a structure. Mo-Fi’s remastering brings out all the details of the original tapes for the utmost fidelity.
TrackList: Shhh/Peaceful; In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time
Four & More was a live album recorded at NYC’s Philharmonic Hall in Lincoln Center on February 12, 1964. Two albums resulted, and this one is of the up-tempo pieces, and boy, are they ever up-tempo! Miles said whenever his group played familiar hits they had played before, they played them faster. And this time most of the eight tracks are at such a break-neck pace that it often seems impossible for the players to properly handle the excess speeds.
“So What” launches into the speed-fest like you have never heard it before, and the six track of “Seven Steps to Heaven” seems not steps at all but a fast run. Miles’ new and young rhythm section has no trouble keeping up with the speed at which Miles runs thru some of these classics. Coleman hasn’t received a lot of attention, but he is terrific in his solos. Miles seems to have an edgier sound to his trumpet than usual, but everyone plays with technical perfection and the exhilarating set will leave the listener a bit breathless—especially in the superb sonics of the Mo-Fi stereo remastering.
TrackList: So What; Walkin’; Joshua; Go-Go, Four; Seven Steps to Heaven; There Is No Greater Love; Go-Go (alternate track)