Friday, 7 October 2016

Miles Davis - Agharta (1975)

Miles Davis, 1975 - in constant pain from multiple health problems, about to bow out for the rest of the decade - and piloting jazz funk/fusion into its most scorching solar orbit, with flares of avant-garde electronica spitting everywhere. Miles and afro-futurist crew landed in Japan early in the year, and taped two concerts for future release in one day at Osaka Festival Hall.  The evening show was called Pangaea on release, and is pretty good; the afternoon show became the mindblowing Agharta.

Like 'Tatu' from the previous year's Dark Magus concert, Agharta thunders in with a breakneck funk vamp that continually gets derailed by Miles crashing down on the electric organ, so that everyone can regroup and charge ahead again.  He's on organ at least as much as trumpet in this era, colouring the music with massive discordant smears, whilst Pete Cosey on lead guitar shares the limelight by coaxing unearthly guitar sounds through an EMS Synthi serving as an effects unit.  After over half an hour of this (the Japanese CD used here corrects the botched track division from the 90s US release) we get to mellow out a bit with the queasy lounge groove of Mayisha from Get Up With It, but even this is soon taken over by a cracking Hendrix-esque solo from Cosey before calming down again.

The second disc here is one continuous track, starting out by jamming on the Theme From Jack Johnson, before a lengthier respite in an eerie, swampy mid-section based on Ife from the album Big Fun.  There's even a blink-and-you'll-miss-it throwback to So What from Kind Of Blue, before the final section cranks up the volume again if not quite at as frenetic a tempo as earlier in the show.  Percussionist James Mtume is the star of this final stretch, but basically every one of the 97 minutes of Agharta is exhilirating, essential groove.

アガルタの凱歌 [Disc 1]

アガルタの凱歌 [Disc 2]

6 comments:

  1. Bought this and Pangaea at at CD shop in Harvard Square in '85! Both great great albums! Nice pick!!

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    1. nice one Chico, bet those weren't cheap back in the day (I'm guessing first-edition Japanese imports)!

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  2. You're spot on Alan! Japanese imports indeed! Double white jewel cases. The shop played a bit of it for me and I was instantly hooked! That open hi-hat and just the groove - so good! These two discs are at the top of the Miles spectrum for me - love this stuff!!

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  3. Every time I try to DL this it comes up broken. I will try again and report.

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    1. it worked. I don't know why. All is well.

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  4. Heard this as a kid long before I 'got' Jazz - just as good now as all those years ago.

    Great blog.

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