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Agharta Live

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Audio CD, Live, December 29, 1990
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$12.23 $7.41
Audio, Cassette, January 15, 1991
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Frequently Bought Together

Agharta + Pangaea + Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall
Price for all three: $44.97

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Editorial Reviews

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Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Prelude (Part I) (Album Version)26:01Album Only
listen  2. Prelude (Part II) (Album Version) 6:33Album Only
listen  3. Maiysha12:20Album Only

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Interlude (Album Version)26:20Album Only
listen  2. Theme From Jack Johnson (Album Version)25:31Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 29, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027DZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,551 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By spiral_mind on July 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Like the most challenging music out there, this album is both a blessing and a headache. For musicians and jazz aficionados it's a, ever-changing stew of grooves, rhythms and blows to get lost in; for those more accustomed to the easy stylings of Miles's first quintet and the like, this is no more difficult a listen than an hour of jackhammering outside the window. Miles himself doesn't show the easy, soothing playing that made him famous in the first place; he sounds clipped, ragged and mad at the world. Considering that he had hip problems and had previously broken both legs in an accident, this might not be far from the truth.
His band might not have been quite as angry, but they still played with the same divine fire. The double-percussion team of Foster and Mtume lay down one dense African groove after another full of rhythms so thick you could wade through them; Cosey and Lucas bend their six-strings to some of the most primal wails this side of Hendrix; Henderson provides just the anchor on bass that everyone needs. Playing opposite Miles on sax was Sonny Fortune, and while he's no Wayne Shorter (but who could be?) he lays down a couple solos that I'm still trying to get my head around after a year of listening. The music was largely improvised and loosely sketched out, but rooted in some previous Davis sounds. "Maiysha" shows up in the track list, but I also hear pieces of "Right Off" and "Ife" among others. You'd probably have to be familiar with his entire body of work from this period to catch them all.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo on June 16, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard the old, unremastered release of Agharta about 10 years ago, and I have been transfixed by Miles' electric recordings ever since. The only way I could describe this album to the uninitiated- imagine the thickest, dirtiest funk you've ever heard, like early Funkadelic times Infinity. Heavy wah across the boards. Now imagine a legendary trumpet player (Davis), an extremely funky sax player (Sonny Fortune), and an insane guitar player, Pete Cosey, A.K.A. 'Evil Hendrix', trading off solos over a constantly shifting background. Now imagine a drummer and percussionist (Al Foster and Mtume, respectively), banging away into eternity, like this music could. Imagine all of the accompaniment emulating percussion, from the bass to the rhythm guitar, and even to all the other players when they are not tearing solos. Now add to this a brooding, dark undercurrent pervading the proceedings. The result is a storming, mindbending and addictive stew that is Agharta.

Enough about the music. On to the sound quality, the only reason you would even be looking at this ridiculously expensive import: It really is no hyperbole to say that the Japanese remastering is light years ahead of the original release. There are instruments brought up in the mix that you couldn't hear before, and much of the murkiness surrounding the original release has been corrected. The solo lines are no longer quiet and obscured, and in fact this edition features the sort of sound you might expect from a studio release. I would recommend this edition to true Davis fans who already know what they are in store for and are looking for the best possible sound for his live electric documents. For those who haven't heard it, I would listen to it first since not everyone is going to like music this intense and, for lack of a better word, extreme (and I don't mean that in a Mountain Dew kind of way). As far as I am concerned, music doesn't get any better than this.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Watts on December 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought Agharta because I had heard and read that it was just about the worst music Miles Davis had ever made. Even people who claimed to sort of like Miles' electric music said that his mid 1970s stuff like Agharta was loud, incomprehensible, cheap and empty.

So I had to listen and decide for myself.

After the 1950s, jazz had morphed from popular dance music to scholarly "head" music or easy listening, background music. By the late 1960s, music made for other jazz musicians or critics was killing jazz and Miles repeatedly said he had no desire to be an esteemed limb on a mummified corpse.

So Miles moved to electric music.

Miles had a hard time moving his music from acoustic to electric, and freely admitted it. To play loud electric body music, Miles needed to rebuild his music from the ground up. Miles spent a lot of time studying how Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Muddy Waters and Sly Stone could create loud, electric music that extended the DNA of American black music and African music in new directions.

Agharta represents the culmination of Miles' quest to form his own, ultimate electric African-American black music band. Agharta was recorded live in Japan in February, 1975 just before Miles retired for 5 years due to his body falling apart from a host of nasty illnesses.

Agharta can sound like a monotonous, cacophonous, meandering mess if you are not familiar with or like high tempo African music or James Brown at his most funkified.

The first songs (Prelude I and II) need to be played as loud as "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath for their groove to bite. Played loud, the dense mix opens up and you feel you are an ant in the middle of a gargantuan, grooving rhythm machine.
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