Listen to long plays during the 11 o’clock hour of The Nightside with Andy O’…these special extensive compositions needed a deeper listen.

In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time (19:53) Miles Davis from the album “In a Silent Way”

Listening to Miles Davis’ originally released version of In a Silent Way in light of the complete sessions released by Sony in 2001 (Columbia Legacy 65362) reveals just how strategic and dramatic a studio construction it was. If one listens to Joe Zawinul’s original version of “In a Silent Way,” it comes across as almost a folk song with a very pronounced melody. The version Miles Davis and Teo Macero assembled from the recording session in July of 1968 is anything but. There is no melody, not even a melodic frame. There are only vamps and solos, grooves layered on top of other grooves spiraling toward space but ending in silence. But even these don’t begin until almost ten minutes into the piece. It’s Miles and McLaughlin, sparely breathing and wending their way through a series of seemingly disconnected phrases until the groove monster kicks in. The solos are extended, digging deep into the heart of the ethereal groove, which was dark, smoky, and ashen. McLaughlin and Hancock are particularly brilliant, but Corea’s solo on the Fender Rhodes is one of his most articulate and spiraling on the instrument ever

He Loved Him Madly (32:10) by Miles Davis from his album “Get Up With It”

“He Loved Him Madly.” Recorded a month after the passing of Duke Ellington, its title taken from a Christmas card greeting Duke sent to Miles the year before. It both summons the ghost of Duke’s “jungle style” big bands and anticipates the forsaken pall of dark ambient. Assembled from five separate takes, Macero wove the seemingly aimless recordings into a magnum opus, one that Brian Eno later hailed as “revolutionary,” finding in its half-hour descent “the ‘spacious’ quality I was after” for his own future ambient work.

It’s a eulogy to Duke that seems to emanate from across the River Styx. Mtume’s congas flutter like bats across the stereo field, Cosey spins out cobwebs on guitar, with Macero’s spacing suggestive of a gaping void in the center of the piece. Miles looms around C-minor on organ, and when his muted trumpet finally sounds at the midway point, he channels longtime Ellington trumpeter Cootie Williams, seeming both close as a whisper and a distant wail. Erotic and ethereal at once, a second solo comes as the band starts to quicken, only to have it all turn phantasmagoric by song’s end.

Long Play is a deep dive during the last hour of The Nightside into the music that time forgot.

Tune in to The Nightside with Andy O’ on Sunday night, November 28, from 8 to midnight.

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