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AGHARTA

Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Miles Davis Agharta album cover
3.58 | 45 ratings | 6 reviews | 37% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1:

1. Prelude (Part One) - 26:01
2. Prelude (Part Two) - 6:33
3. Maiysha - 11:21

Disc 2:

1. Interlude - 26:35
2. Theme from Jack Johnson - 25:16


total time 95:49

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Miles Davis, trumpet, organ
Sonny Fortune, soprano sax, alto sax, flute
Michael Henderson, bass
Pete Cosey, guitar, synths, percussion
Al Foster, drums; Reggie Lucas, guitar
Mtume, conga, percussion, water drum, rhythm box

Releases information

2 x LP / CD. Executive Producer: Teo Macero.
Recorded live at Osaka Festival Hall, Japan, February 1, 1975.

LP: CBS 88159 (Europe),CBS/Sony SOPJ 92, SOPJ 93 (Japan), Columbia PG 33967 (US 1976) ,

CD: Columbia 467897 2 (Europe 1991) , Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) SRCS 9128~9 (Japan 1996)

Thanks to rocktopus for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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MILES DAVIS Agharta ratings distribution


3.58
(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
37%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

MILES DAVIS Agharta reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by js (Easy Money)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars If I had to pick one favorite album from any genre and any era, this would have to be the one. There is so much about this live album that stands out; the disciplined attentivness of the band as Miles takes them through abstract improvisational sections, the bands ability to rock out on the edge of chaos and then bring things down to a whisper, Pete Cosey's unbelievable incendiary guitar playing and most of all, a mesmerizing and constantly shifting sound texture that changes with the band and adds accents to solos and quiet sections as well.

Miles has often pointed out in interviews that the ensemble on this album was his favorite band. Playing rock with jazz musicians (Bitches Brew) served it's purpose for a while, but Miles wanted a band that could really rock, as well as play jazz, avant-garde and world music as well. The icing on the cake for Miles is that he finally found a guitar player who could do what the departed Jimi Hendrix could do, plus so much more. Pete Cosey is probably one of the greatest guitar players to ever play rock/fusion/blues etc and the fact that he remains mostly unknown is nothing short of criminal.

This album finally brings together all the influences that Miles had been trying to bring together for years; Stockhausen's Asiatic suspended musical moments in time (moment form), Sly Stone's dramatic take it to the streets call to action world revolutionary party funk, searing acid rock guitar, Sun Ra's disciplined approach to group improvisation, Herbie Hancock's futuristic fusion and timeless classical music from Africa.

Although this album is full of beautiful quiet moments, there is always a feeling that the band may suddenly explode, if even for a second or two, before they go quiet again. There is so much to like on here, but there is one feature that has always stood out to me. Throughout this album there is some kind of device that allows performers to suddenly shift in volume and reverb saturation at any given moment. The result is a sound texture that is never boring, and it is a device that is totally unique to Miles during this phase of his career.

I would highly recommend this album to people who want to hear psychedelic rock taken to it's very highest level.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#179596) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Reviewing "Agharta" (and its sister CD, the equally vivid "Pangaea") is like writing about Mount Everest: mere words are not enough to convey the sense of intimidating awe one feels when standing in its shadow. Extending the Himalayan metaphor even further, these two concert recordings together reach the highest peak of achievement in the turbulent, post-jazz career of Miles Davis during the mid-1970s.

The two releases form separate sides of the same coin, recorded at an afternoon/ evening gig in Osaka, on February 1, 1975. The earlier set of "Agharta" may not sound as raw as the twin-disc Carnegie Hall concert heard on "Dark Magus" the previous year. But the music here is equally relentless: a shifting landmass of music moving from gut-thumping electronic Funk-Rock fusion to joyful dance grooves to easygoing swing, before finally collapsing into a disquieting abyss of dark, interstellar noise.

Track titles (excepting the single recognizable melody of "Maiysha", from the 1974 album "Get Up With It") are entirely meaningless. Each of the two "Agharta" discs is essentially a long, uninterrupted jam, improvised in true jazz fashion over several brief themes, typically introduced by Miles and then quickly assimilated into the onrushing juggernaut of rhythm. A 30-minute, two-part "Prelude" actually fills most of Disc One, and "Theme From Jack Johnson" introduces only the first few moments of an hour-long, freeform blow on Disc Two.

It's during this latter half of the set when the music gradually evaporates into a black hole of ambient, avant-garde effects...at least on the highly recommended Sony Japanese pressing. The final ten minutes or so of drifting Space Rock was inexplicably left off the much-maligned 1991 Columbia CD re-master, excised by timid sound engineers with no taste for true exploratory music.

On this tour Davis assembled maybe the strongest (and certainly the loudest) band of his long, influential career, built atop a solid backbone of rhythm provided by drummer Al Foster and bassist Michael Henderson, with a vital layer of percussive color added by the always inventive Mtume. But the real musical muscle can be heard in the effects-driven controlled chaos of Pete Cosey's guitar playing, which in a more perfect world would merit the same acclaim reserved for the likes of McLaughlin, Fripp, or Hendrix (take your pick).

Miles himself is often silent, or else neglecting his trumpet in favor of a cheap-sounding Yamaha organ. Blame his failing health at the time: he was suffering from crippling osteoarthritis, among other ailments, all of them contributing to his dependence on drugs and forcing him into premature retirement for several years soon after these gigs.

But his presence and guidance throughout the show is unmistakable. And his own uncertain performance, fragile and tentative as it sometimes is (and leaning hard on the crutch of his ubiquitous wah-wah pedal) only adds to the otherworldly effect of the entire concert experience. His trumpet is no longer the authoritative solo voice around which the rest of the band orbits, but a single cog in a well-oiled musical machine, and often indistinguishable from the sound of an over-amped electric guitar.

That's where the true innovation of "Agharta" can be heard: in the realization of a new musical language transcending the conventions of jazz, rock, or any other genre...

...and after first pointing out the futility of trying to describe the penultimate masterpiece by one of the acknowledged forces of 20th century music, I suddenly find myself having just wasted 573 words trying to do exactly that. Point proven.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#203935) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars Let me preface this by saying that I am a big fan of jazz, both traditional and fusion, but I do not worship at the altar of Miles Davis. While I understand that he was one of the most influential jazz artists who opened the door for electric fusion, I do not believe he was the first, or ever the best at it.

This album is actually a perfect example of a Miles Davis concert from the seventies on. I had the pleasure of seeing his band a few times in this period. Each concert had many of the same features: an amazingly talented band, playing loosely defined jams, while Miles wandered about on the stage, occasionally giving directions, and sometimes playing random blips and beeps, but rarely anything inspiring, through his trumpet. I'm very sorry, but Miles was once on of the best jazz trumeters ever, but by this time, the drugs and abuse must have taken it's toll. The album's liner notes say that Miles was suffering from a degenerating hip, ulcers, and numerous other ailments during this performance. Maybe these were problems for the entire lest stage of his career.

This album is, for the most part, listenable. The band is fantastic. They can jam for hours, creating mystifying rhythms and solos around Miles' loose direction. The guitar, sax and flute solos here are all fun to listen to. But when Miles steps up, it's a disappointment.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#227762) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A lot of works that were called the listener a masterpiece in the history in longtime music of Miles Davis might have been exactly announced. It will have been "Kind Of Blue" to have decided the position of mode Jazz whose it is not an exaggeration to say that Miles had voluntarily established the route. And, the work by Quintet of the gold in the 60's is a very important, in work of Miles popular work. And, the work that should be able to be called compile of the performance, the method, and the route to which he went in the 70's might be this "Agharta". And, Miles's moving backward from the first line of music for about six years taking the opportunity of "Pangaea" that had been announced in the same year while fighting against the sickness resulted.

Miles Davis multiplied in February in January and visited 1975 year three times in total. And, 14 concerts in total are held. Miles and the band might have caused some miracles by the performance in the period. Especially, the performance of this album and "Pangaea" might be able to be called a perfect state exactly in all situations. It is an of course technology of the member of the band, physical strength, and willpower besides Miles. Or, the technology in the stage and the recording might be almost perfect even if it considers it overall.

The performance in daytime and the line separately for the nightly performance have cracked to this concert held on February 1, 1975. The content of the performance in daytime is "Agharta". And, the content of the nightly performance becomes "Pangaea" and it is edited. Teo Macero of album Producer is related to a lot of work so far for the work of Miles. And, it is of course related in perfect shape from the start of this "Agharta" to the last sound of "Pangaea" and edited.

Miles might already understood the music at which it always aims. And, the performance collected to this album also perfectly exactly operates the flow of the band. The storm of Improvisation that Band weaves with a sense of existence of Miles completely catches the listener.

And, the point that should make a special mention is a point that this album puts an almost complete performance by CD. As for LP Record at that time, the edit by the part of the fade- out had been done. However, the concert is collected in more perfect shape by the capacity of CD and the technology of the edit. It is said that the performance developed by the band after Miles gets off the stage was an instruction by Miles. These performances exactly offer the listener the performance that all musicians do including Miles in union.

The music character of Miles in the 70's will not stay in music to which electronic musical instruments are simply taken. Music that should be aimed. And, the electric wave that Miles had caught always showed the continuousness of dismantlement and the restructuring of the form. And, the point that Miles freely created music regardless of the genre. As for them, the music that Miles created while it revolutionized from "Bitches Brew" to the route of "On The Corner" and Afro's rhythm and the rhythm of R&B and Rock intersected further presented a perfect aspect with various musicians. The performance of guitar player's Pete Cosey and Bass player's Michael Henderson will have been important existence for the music of Miles at this time. And, the existence of drum player's Al Foster might be also important. Playing his drum is still popular.

The power of "Prelude" is overwhelming. Ensemble of the band is exactly complete. Miles also has surely put out the instruction of the organ. A comfortable tension will be sure to be given to the listener by this performance. The sound of the trumpet that does the mute is always Cool. The intersection of the signal by the flow and Miles done to Solo of Sax from now on with the dash feeling continued might be a flood of the sound. The tune advances gradually from the form of Improvisation. And, the drum and Bass might also contribute perfectly to the performance.

"Maiysha" progresses by a beautiful melody and the rhythm of Latin. The creation of Miles to establish to the style of JazzRock/Fusion might be exactly great. The guitar that denies those elements has the part not ended as a simple tune. They will be able to be discovered by listening to this tune. The flute by Sonny Fortune in the latter half colors a new color to the tune.

"Theme from Jack Johnson" might be one space from "Interlude" that Miles exactly created. It is completely possessed in the member of the band. The flow that changes the air of the space repeating the intersection of the sound from intense, fast Passage is splendid. And, the flow of the sound rushes into space in full scale. The music that Miles creates might already exceeded the genre. The flow that completely receives the top will associate that it is the wandering about the star after it explodes.

By the way, it is said that the performance of Miles at this time almost dared to put the title of the tune because Improvisation was almost a main current. "Agharta" of the city of the said legend ..work with the overwhelming might.. has finished when having existed and in Sri Lanka. The performance might be a work that is not the exaggeration to say the top still in the work of one space element and Miles in the 70's.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#239311) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Live in Japan ! Miles apparently was not in good physical condition during this 1975 tour. In fact after this tour he would go into a 6 year retirement. He's not his usual prominant self on this recording and the other thing that surprised me was how out front the guitars were.That's right there were two guitarists as Miles had grown close to Jimi Hendrix and wanted that guitar influence to be prominant because he felt "The guitar can take you deep into the blues". The rhythm dominates much of the time on this double album. Certainly not the famous lineups that we're used to on Miles' previous works like "Bitches Brew" and "In A Silent Way", but you know Davis only worked with the best. So we get five long jams that for me lack the dynamics of some of my favourites from him.

"Prelude (Part One)" has such a good rhythm to it. Trumpet after 2 1/2 minutes and sax 8 minutes in. The guitar makes some noise after the song settles 11 1/2 minutes in. The trumpet's back 19 1/2 minutes in, and I like Henderson's deep bass lines late. "Prelude (Part Two)" has the same rhythm as Part One but the guitar leads the way early. The rhythm stops before 4 minutes. It starts to build a minute later. "Maiysha" is light with flute early. The guitar after 2 1/2 minutes changes the mood. Back to flute and pastoral sounds 5 minutes in. Horns start to come and go. Guitar is back 10 minutes in. "Interlude" is led by this beat as other sounds come and go. Some nice bass before 4 minutes then the guitar starts to rip it up. It settles after 8 minutes as the guitar stops and the trumpet comes in. A calm 16 minutes in. Different sounds end up coming and going. Flute comes in and leads with drums. Trumpet 21 1/2 minutes in before it settles around 25 minutes.

"Theme From Jack Johnson" takes a while to get going then we get some guitar 3 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up. The guitar on this song is my favourite on this recording, I wasn't that impressed with the rest. Anyway a calm 6 1/2 minutes in as it sounds like the intro. Picks up after 8 minutes but it's brief. The guitar is back around 10 minutes. It settles 13 minutes in. Guitar after 21 minutes as the tempo continues to shift. Percussion follows.

A good album, but man this pales when compared to "A Tribute To Jack Johnson" or "Bitches Brew".

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#240954) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars - Architect of His Own Doom Is Denied Planning Permission -

The word genius is bandied about in reference to musicians like Davis, Lennon, Coltrane, Morrison, Hendrix et al like slurred proposals by those who know the vows of fidelity ain't gonna last past the best man's speech. (The hitherto salacious excesses of the groom being outlined by a professional arbiter of taste - a biographer) Everyone and their dog claims to be under the influence of the aforementioned luminaries until such time as the fashion cops pull them over. However, we certainly can't blame Miles Davis for the fickle and transitory nature of the fan-base and musicians he longed to be acknowledged by (i.e. Rock Music) Support slots opening for the likes of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana merely served to betray a germ of populism as an integral part of this complex and contradictory man. Although frustrated at his overtures being spurned by the ordinary pop lovin' Joe, Miles would have savoured the irony of having swapped jazz snobs for rock snobs, the latter being arguably even more conservative than the former. Enthusiasts for the sort of music he was producing circa 1975 would deem Agharta as dense, seamless and abstract. Me? Closer to impenetrable, monotonous and incoherent. Others would claim this is Miles 'space music', or as someone like his avowed inspiration Stockhausen would have it, a space for music to exist. (How many holes does it take to fill the Osaka Festival Hall, or is this flat-packed structure one I have to assemble myself?)

There are instances on the half hour Prelude where I am haunted by a nagging visitation from a bratty Moonchild over an immutable funk beat. Prelude to what? you could measure these track lengths with a sundial. Everything is textural hereabouts, even what pass for solos are inextricably woven into a sound-scape where there is neither foreground or background with just that incessant and ingratiating pulse to remind us this corpse is still breathing (heavily Man). I guess that some sort of ground-breaking has to be undertaken before either eulogies or being buried alive is considered appropriate. Not even James Brown would milk such modest resources and expect to get away with it. What exactly did Davis contribute to these four titles by way of thematic, harmonic or motivic sources to warrant a writer's credit? We appear to be in the realm of a succession of shifting 'moments', that require the listener to surrender their habitual notions of linearity and embrace the fleeting and arbitrary coalescence of unrelated strands of sound. (Jeez, I'm starting to sound like a publicist for the ECM label). I'm too lazy, old or set in my ways most likely for this malarkey - creative listening on this scale must be a young un's game. Yes I do know: It's my loss.

The only people who could be forgiven for wishing to name-drop Miles are those countless hired labourers he employed who must have become disenchanted at their being no architect for the house that everyone else built with Davis inscribed on the mailbox. e.g. Tutu is tantamount to a Marcus Miller solo album with Miles as guest soloist. Similarly, Aura composed and arranged entirely by Palle Mikkelborg goes out with the MD moniker carelessly scribbled to the cover art. Little wonder Davis post 70's output is such an unwieldy mess.

By this stage Miles had abandoned conventional harmonic devices entirely but something had been lost in the interim: and those who essay lives in reverse (historians) could have consoled him that a plot always appears at the end. Without recourse to any hook, gradation or development these rambling acreages merely depict a stricken wreck who could only keep afloat with a ballast of booze and nostril sherbet on board. I cannot discern any leadership or guidance throughout Agharta and such is the tyranny of texture at play Miles contents himself only with a shrugging tootle here and a grudging parp there as though preoccupied with choosing the wallpaper for his derelict house.

To their credit, the hand picked band he assembled for these dates do their damnedest to inject some excitement into these jams despite the absence of any charts, instructions or orders from their AWOL general. Davis was fond of regaling his new charges with this sort of tutelage:

Play what's not there, don't play what you know, play what you don't know

Hip-speak: closer to your backside than your mouth.

If proof of such were needed we only have to consult Pangaea, a concert recorded by the same personnel on the same day which yielded another completely different set of performances. Cosey in particular displays a fiery and vicious energy completely at odds with his laconic taskmaster. The Foster/Henderson/Mtume bass/drum/percussion trio is retained from the excellent On the Corner, and all three are certainly more than able to nail a groove mercilessly as they do here. Sonny Fortune strikes me as more of a conventional jazzer in that his sax and flute solos on the record are the only ones that develop along marginally conventional lines of statement, improvisation, recapitulation etc.

Miles Davis sold himself like a brazen 'strumpet with trumpet' to get into bed with rock and even tried to shoehorn his way onto PIL's Album album, under the flimsy pretext that Johnny's voice sounded like his own horn? Lydon flatly rejected his contributions. From here it is but a short slap to the horrors of jazz funk followed by a short button press to the digital technology that begat Detroit Techno and call the lineage facile if you like, Rap. The graveyard of progressive music that was the 80's where electronic dance music's endemic cyclic rhythms choked any dissenting voices must surely owe a debt of gratitude to Miles Dewey Davis.

If you are captivated by free jazz, Can circa Tago Mago, early Tangerine Dream, spacey Sun Ra, Matching Mole or Zappa's more atonal extravaganzas, you may well be in hog heaven with this album but failing that, these air miles won't even refund your fare.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#241813) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009

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