Friday, 7 October 2016
Miles Davis - Agharta (1975)
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.