Monday, March 9, 2009


"Agharta" is the first part of a two part concert performed by Miles Davis and his band in Osaka, Japan in 1975. "Agharta" is the daytime portion of the show, and "Pangaea" is the night time portion. Both are equally impressive 90 minute plus epics that are each available as double disc sets. Today I would like to focus on "Agharta", the daytime, sun-drenched part of the show. This is jazz fusion at it's best...there is a deep sense of blues combined with psychedelic distorted guitar and the wide open free space of jazz . Almost every every instrument is hooked up with a wah-wah pedal, even the saxophone and flute, and especially the masterful trumpet playing of Miles Davis. His trumpet playing on "Agharta" is the most out there yet beautiful and disturbing work of his career. At times his trumpet becomes so distorted it is hard to distinguish between it and the guitar. At others it is so beautiful and serene it is devastating. The bass playing of Michael Henderson is magnificent, more like Black Sabbath than jazz, with very hip shaking earth moving grooves. There are two percussionists, Mtume and Al Foster, one playing a traditional drum set and the other playing various exotic percussion. The twin guitar playing of Pete Cosie and Reggie Lucas is heavy on the wah-wah, psychedelic as all get out, and dead on with it's delivery. The keyboard playing of Pete Cosey is mind-blowing, with subtle, lysergic, brain melting sounds emanating throughout the performance. The woodwind playing of Sonny Fortune really adds volatility to the mix, perfectly playing off of Mile Davis trumpet work.

"Agharta" is a downright earth moving, sun drenched jazz fusion masterpiece. After these dual exhaustive performances, Miles Davis crashed and burned, not to return until the early 1980's with more straight laced material. Start out with "Agharta", then pick up the darker "Pangaea" if you like what you hear.

Here's an excerpt from the very laid back "Maiysha". My favorite track from "Agharta". Click here to listen.


Kny said...

I can appreciate Miles... but just never got into any of his stuff. I like the 'idea' of jazz and all of that... just never would stick to me. Must not be hep enough.

Steve Smith said...

It's not a matter of being hep....some people like jazz and some don't. It's just a matter of personal taste.