Trumpeter Mark Isham's Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project
is another in a slew of Miles Davis tributes released in the late 1990s. It follows Miles tributes by Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser (Yo Miles!
) and producer Bill Laswell (Panthalassa
) in looking back specifically on the great trumpeter's electric period of the early 1970s. Purist fans of this part of Miles's career might be a little put off by Isham's live recording, as The Silent Way Project
is more his own interpretations of several themes from the period than a collection of unerringly faithful versions. The title track, for example, is almost unrecognizable as Isham and his band veer off into ambient territory after the initial opening theme. Also, the overall vibe the band generates is in truth closer to the slicker sound of Miles's 1980s recordings than it is to the dense and heavily percussive leanings of the albums that originally contained this material. Still, there are plenty of worthwhile moments here that will appeal to fans of Miles's '70s period, from the all-out guitar-driven crash of "Jack Johnson" to the avant-funk of "Ife" and "Spanish Key." --Ezra Gale