By Jon Solomon
John McLaughlin says he was nervous as a kitten and had sweat pouring down his back the first time he played with Miles Davis on the In a Silent Way sessions in 1969. McLaughlin had just moved to the United States from England to join Tony Williams’s Lifetime group when Davis invited the then-27-year-old guitarist to perform on the album.
John McLaughlinMiles DavisJohn ColtraneTony WilliamsArts, Entertainment, and Media
Davis said he wanted to play the song « In a Silent Way, » so Joe Zawinul, who had written it, gave McLaughlin a photocopy of the piano part, which, McLaughlin says, isn’t the easiest thing for a guitar player to read. Although he might have been in heaven playing with one of his musical heroes, whom he’d been listening to since his mid-teens, the nervous and sweaty McLaughlin was getting by playing the piano part until Davis jumped in and said, « I don’t like it. »