With one of the most stellar lineups ever, Miles Davis' In a Silent Way can be read as the calm before the storm that is his subsequent masterpiece, Bitches Brew. While many listeners point out the thunderous facet of the jazz master's electric phase (rightly so), In a Silent Way is an interesting, but essential exception. Consisting of two lenghty compositions that make for some of the most accessible moments in Davis' career, the record offers a humongous step ahead of all of his contemporaries, with his five-star octet exploring small venues of modal jazz that would soon lead to what we know, today, as jazz-fusion. In fact, Davis, Holland, Corea, Williams and Shorter had already come quite close to this brand new panorama of jazz one year before the release of IASW, with the also fantastic Files of Kilimanjaro. Still, it wasn't until 1969 that the inevitable marriage between jazz and rock would be cemented, and even if this record does sound very different than most of the fiery releases that would come out of Davis' sleeves during the 70s, the fantastic union of John McLaughlin's then incognito (but brilliant) guitar-playing chops and Davis' controlled, precise trumpet solos make out for the most natural transition between the old and the new jazz style at the time. Both songs here sound incredibly well-structured, in a delightful blend of virtuosistic improvisations with sensible and precise pre-developed foundations (mostly provided by the contained atmospheric work of electric-piano magician Chick Corea and organist Joe Zawinul). There is no denying the labyrinthine late-night quality of this highly-detailed yet elusive, seductive album, and listening to it, even today, feels like laying bare in a very comfortable bed of sounds that can easily take you away in a perfect dream, no matter at what time of the day. Never has jazz fusion sounded so shimmery, cosmic and harmonious as in its beginning. One of the very best albums ever.