Miles Davis' famous mid-1960s quintet, featuring saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock, was intact until just a few weeks before his new, electric ensemble recorded In a Silent Way. Legendary as a line-in-the-sand release that challenged jazz fans during the ascendance of electrified psychedelic rock, In a Silent Way hints at the repetitive polyrhythms Davis would employ throughout the early 1970s. It also partook of electric piano and bass, and rekindled the tonal palette that Davis explored famously with Kind of Blue.
But In a Silent Way remains a clearly electric jazz record, part ambient color exploration, part rock-inflected energy and vibe, and part outright maverick creativity. Davis takes many long, breathy solos that glisten in a burnished blue against his new group's intoxicating mixture of musical moods. Davis replaces the rhythms and harmonies of bebop with a hypnotic, subliminal dance pulse and an airy, celestial drone of electric keyboards. It is one of the most daringly beautiful and enduring creations of his career.