Super Audio Bedtime Magic

Dec 4, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Really relaxing music from a Master and a great multi channel mix.

Cons:There was a very subtle hiss underlying the music.

The Bottom Line: This is an outstanding relaxing and beautiful album by Miles and his very talented friends. The surround mix is great.

Music is the soundtrack to my life. I listen to it, even going to sleep. I used to go to bed with Diana Krall, but my girlfriend and Elvis Costello didn't like that. I find that a lot of jazz is excellent for relaxing and unwinding, and In a Silent Way is one of the most relaxing and unwinding SACDs I own. Miles Davis trumpet just delivers the most contemplative music.

This SACD release is a rerelease of the legendary trumpeters first step into fusion in 1969. The album features Miles on trumpet with an eight piece ensemble including three keyboard players, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul. Am I a musical genius?, No, I just read the back of the SACD which gives a really nice summary of the original recording. His ensemble also featured Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, John McLaughlin on electric guitar, Dave Holland on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

The SACD features a stereo mix and a multichannel mix. I prefer the multi channel mix. The album consists of two songs

Shhhh/Peaceful Organ music comes from all sides, then brushes hit cymbals from the center. A gentle guitar comes from the front stage, and other keyboards come in from the rears and the right and left channels. Yet, it is not hectic or cluttered, it's just beautiful and relaxing. Finally, Miles trumpet comes in smooth and solid from the center channel. The drummer keeps a steady beat behind Miles. Although both the drummer and Miles trumpet are in the center channel, a creation of depth is clearly evident, because when I close my eyes, I can see Miles in front of the drummer. The Keyboards are placed all around me. For an album orginally recorded in 1969, this album sounds really smooth and well produced. The three keyboards, and guitar just blend right in even though each can be clearly heard from its place on the sound stage. The SACD really creates an awesome soundstage with this album.

In a Silent Way/Its about that time This song is in three parts; In A Silent Way; It's about that Time, and In a Silent Way. A subtle hiss was underlying the music which was more noticable on this track with the volume turned up loud. This half of the SACD expands upon the music in the first half. Sounds are everywhere and just glide in from all channels. However, Miles himself is mostly center channel, as I would expect. The bass player is also much more prominent on this side of the album and stands in the front right center.

I really loved the way this album had the keyboards spread out over the whole soundstage. Throughout the album, each keyboard could be distinctly heard as if they were laid out in a circle around the listener. The guitar was mostly front right, and the drums, although clearly heard in all channels, seemed to be in the front center when listening from the "sweet spot". If you are a jazz fan, this is a great album to get, it's also one of the few that Miles has released in Surround Sound. If you are a Miles Davis fan though, you will be happy to know that the best of his collection is out on SACD (mostly stereo) including Sketches of Spain; 'Round Midnight; Jazz at the Plaza; and Kind of Blue

Although I focused on the multi channel mix, I can assure you that the stereo mix is superb as well. The only reason I deducted one star is that the recording wasn't quite as clean as I had hoped to hear on SACD. The SACD in this case seems to bring out the flaws in the original recording. You almost feel like you were there, but you can tell that this is a recording.

Review Equipment: Denon 1905 Surround Sound Receiver; Pioneer 45A DVD-Audio/SACD player, Cambridge Soundworks speakers and subwoofer.

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