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Miles Davis - In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall CD (album) cover


Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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2 stars This is one very strange album, and is definitely not recommended for people who are looking for their first Miles Davis purchase. The band on here is pretty much one band member away from the brilliant group that would record the phenomenal live Agharta album, but since that missing member is the unbelievable pyrotechnical guitarist Pete Cosey, that missing member might as well be half the band. There is so much working against Miles on here, out of tune instruments, sub-par musicianship, bad sound quality on the keyboards and guitars, horrible recording quality and a horrendous sound mix that favors incidental percussion over soloists.

Fortunately the style of music on here is strange and raw enough that all the previously mentioned negative factors don't hurt as much as it would on some sort of pretty or technically precise music. This album has something in common with King Crimson's Earthbound or The Velvet Underground when John Cale was in the band, in that the primitive sound may actually add something to this album's quirky appeal. The music on here is based a lot around the strange avant-African jams that Miles had put out on albums like On the Corner, Big Fun and Get Up With It. In this music the percussionists build up thick poly- rhythms while the other instruments add to the rhythm or add short solo snippets. This is a very psychedelic album, but it is a trashy out of tune psychedelia that sounds like it was recorded on a portable 8-track ghetto blaster. Occasionally the band breaks into walking blues jams that break the monotony of the static disjointed African rhythms.

Although Miles is usually happy to share solo time with other band members, on this album he takes nearly four fifths of the solos for himself. His solos on here are not typical and it sounds more like he is using the trumpet as a rhythm instrument, plus his tone is small, choked, distorted and constantly run through a wah wah pedal. When he is not soloing, Miles can be heard playing very prominent distorted and dissonant chords on a Yamaha organ. All of this busy and up-front playing makes it sound like he has become frustrated with this band's weaknesses and limitations and he is trying to carry the band himself. This is hardly the best album by Davis, but I can enjoy it's strange uniqueness in small doses. By the way, if you do get this album, get it on vinyl, the caricatures both inside and outside the album cover are priceless.

Report this review (#179712)
Posted Saturday, August 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars It did not exactly know the power of Miles Davis that had rushed into in the 70's stayed. However, he needed taking a rest for about one and a half years from 1971 because he had had the problem of health. Time like it was required so that the reform with CBS that contracted have had to have by him and to undergo the operation on the gallbladder.

And, the album by which he had worked on production after the rest was "On The Corner". Miles at the time of "Agharta" and "Pangaea" worked on the work very aggressively and left "In A Silent Way" the masterpiece in the age of Electric Miles.

The album that had been exactly announced from "On The Corner" that had been announced in 1972 after about four months became this live album. As for the flow, a high performance of a similar quality to "Live Evil" is collected. Sax player's Carlos Garnett that participated in this album and Cedric Lawson etc. of the keyboard were musicians who had participated while slightly of this time.

The antenna that Miles had put always caught the age and always created the item of Jazz by dismantlement and restructuring. It is guessed that it is an important member who has them establish the route of the music of Miles at this time to guitar player's Reggie Lucas and Bass player's Michael Henderson, etc. as a musician of coming from from the Soul music. Perhaps, how to make the sound of the guitar like Jimi Hendrix that seems that it is an idea of Miles it indicates the success and the road of the extent expressed by performing Reggie.

The tune that had been announced so far was developed further and the style of Miles that pursued degree of freedom and the perfection further might have been established at this time. The tension invites the world and the listener from whom the transmitting forecast doesn't surely take side with the spectator. For one thing, the role of the charm of the performance that continues until later years as the leader of Miles is demonstrated. The sense of Miles that cued to the member with the organ and manipulated the flow of the tune freely gave birth to the element that always found the labyrinth one answer.

Often, Miles to which degree of freedom increased did a performance extremely open that did not use the mute. The wave motion vibrates to the member and the world of each musician's knowledge, root, and Miles alone that cannot be applied to the item coming in succession as usual Jazz/Fusion is invented. Therefore, it might be difficult to specify his Music's genre. However, the method of catching as the music of Miles Davis without putting the definition of his Music's genre might be correct.

Report this review (#226956)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Because the bar for live albums from the electrified Miles Davis was set so high with the triple threat of 'Dark Magus', 'Agharta', and 'Pangaea', this (likewise) double-disc gets treated at times like a poor relation, the backwards cousin you're embarrassed to be seen in public with. But don't dismiss it too quickly: there's plenty of worthwhile music here, documenting yet another fascinating mutation in the ongoing evolution of a forward-thinking artist.

Davis was already miles away (so to speak) from anything resembling acoustic Jazz, and by late 1972 he was beginning to outpace even his own Jazz Rock Fusion innovations. This live set was recorded mere days before the release of his controversial avant-funk album 'On the Corner', and was likewise built on long, mesmerizing group improvisations, flowing like water around the unyielding rock of Michael Henderson's repetitive bass lines, with very little traditional soloing, even by Davis.

It may have been that his touring band at the time simply lacked a natural soloist like Chick Corea, or Wayne Shorter. The keyboards and saxophone (played by Cedric Lawson and Carlos Garnett: neither one a part of the Davis stock company for long) were just two more ingredients in a dense musical stew. And the album has attracted some criticism for not featuring ace guitarist Pete Cosey, who would join the live ensemble the following year. It's a valid complaint, but using the same logic the set deserves five stars because Phil Collins doesn't sing on it.

It's true the full nine-piece band resembles a work-in-progress, with tablas and electric sitar adding subtle ethnic undercurrents to the music. But the longer jams ('Black Satin', or the 28-minute 'Ife') often attain a lofty hypnotic plateau, thanks to the driving momentum of the Foster/Henderson rhythm section, with help from Mtume and his battery of African percussion. Of course the original LP had no information whatsoever about the band or the music. The untitled side-long medleys on each disc were identified only as 'Foot Fooler' and 'Slickaphonics', and illustrated in the sleeve art with amusing inner-city caricatures.

It was all part of the usual Miles Davis 'call it anything' ethos: an attempt to focus attention on the music, and nothing but the music. But that deliberate anonymity may have actually undermined the album's impact, and the somewhat two-dimensional production didn't help (a more dynamic live sound would have made it a near-essential experience). But even on its own somewhat compromised terms it's still a valuable addition to any electric Miles library.

Report this review (#1145179)
Posted Monday, March 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably the most satisfying Miles Davis live album. It is the fourth live album that Miles released in 1970s, with three more live albums to be released subsequently. So "Miles Davis In Concert" sits right in the middle of Miles electric period. Which is interesting, as the music on this album, recorded on September 29 1972, is as close to equilibrium as Miles ever got.

Note: I am reviewing this album listening to double LP on the original vinyl pressing. The digitized version (on a CD) may present a somewhat different picture; I haven't had a chance to listen to the CD version yet.

Prior to this album, Miles has released "Black Beauty" (recorded at Fillmore West on April 10, 1970), "Live At Fillmore East" (recorded during a four days gig at Fillmore East in June 1970), and "Live/Evil" (recorded in December 1970 at the Cellar Door). After Miles released "Miles Davis In Concert", he continued touring but did not release any live material until his Carnegie Hall performance, recorded on March 30, 1974, was released in Japan only as a double LP titled "Dark Magus". After that Miles went on a tour Japan in January 1975, and on February 1, 1975, recorded two performances in Osaka. The matinee concert was released as a double LP titled "Agharta" and the evening concert was released as a double LP titled "Pangaea".

All of Miles live albums released in 1970s were double LPs. And all these live albums are highly regarded by both critics and the fans. So it gets extremely hard to rank those stellar performances. We are left to discuss personal preferences, as every fan seems to have their own favourite Miles alive album.

My favourite is this one ("Miles Davis In Concert"). I love "Dark Magus", but I feel that on "Miles Davis In Concert", Miles had achieved the perfect balance of a mix between the avant-garde and non-European music. With albums prior to this one, there was a lot of searching, lot of attempts to find the magic formula in the hopes that he will be able to bottle it. The results were ranging from spectacular to near misses. But on this night, Miles finally hit the stride and managed to conjure up that much sought after balance, the equilibrium he was searching for.

What makes this album so special, so different from the ones preceding it and the ones following it? It's mostly the achievement of musical stasis. Prior to this breakthrough, Miles had pursued his Directions in Music by following his formula 'time, no changes'. But on this album, not only did the band abandon creating tension-and-release through following harmonic progression (changes_, they had also abandoned creating tension-and-release through shifting the time signatures. Pretty much all the composition the band played that night sound quite static, with a very rudimentary groove that keeps going for what seems like forever. It is only after the band exhausts all ideas regarding how to play over such rudimentary groove (or vamp), that they switch to another, equally static vamp.

Another thing that makes this recording so unique, so interesting, is that throughout the entire concert, barely any musician ever solos. If an instrument enters the picture, it is mostly in order to support the vamp. S basically the entire band keeps sounding as if everyone is comping.

What this combination of static vamps and collective comping produces is a whole bunch of intricate, often ingenious textures. Sonic textures is what Miles seemed to have primarily been focused on during that period.

Miles has never been this much engaged on the stage as he seems to have been on that night. He plays almost all the time, but he is not soloing, his trumpet is guiding and supporting the band. And Miles sounds fantastic, he is obviously excited and is enjoying himself from the beginning to the very end of the concert. He did not leave the stage long before the performance was over, he was there all the time, gelling with his band, cherishing the gorgeous music they were making that night.

From the listener's point of view, this album is quite possibly the most satisfying, the most gratifying listening experience. Listening to these four brilliant sides, I become keenly aware of the power of repetition that Miles discovered on his musical journey. The overall effect is simply divine!

Yes, Miles went on to play more exciting concerts ("Dark Magus", "Agharta" and "Pangaea" amply illustrate that excitement), but his later records never managed to hit this elusive sweet spot of perfect balance, perfect equilibrium and the bliss of floating on the cushion of perfect stasis. His later albums were full of dramatic, heroic musical statements delivered by his outstanding soloists (Dave Liebman and Pete Cosey being among the most prominent ones). But the delicate cohesive balance between all band members on the stage has never been so charmingly captured on tape as on that night of September 29, 1972.

Report this review (#2121684)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Review Permalink

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