Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29, 2008: Album of the Day Vol. 007: Miles Davis - 1977 - Dark Magus


Disc 1:

1.Dark Magus - Moja (Part 1)
2.Dark Magus - Moja (Part 2)
3.Dark Magus - Wili (Part 1)
4.Dark Magus - Wili (Part 2)

Disc 2:

1.Dark Magus - Tatu (Part 1)
2.Dark Magus - Tatu (Part 2)
3.Dark Magus - Nne (Part 1)
4.Dark Magus - Nne (Part 2)


Pete Cosey – guitar
Miles Davis – organ, trumpet
Al Foster – drums
Dominique Gaumont – guitar
Michael Henderson – bass
Azar Lawrence – tenor saxophone
Dave Liebman – flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Reggie Lucas – guitar
Teo Macero – producer
James Mtume – percussion

Amazon review from Phil Avetxori:

By the time Miles Davis recorded this album, many jazz purists had written him off long ago. Elecric Miles was seen as commercially compromised, a crass cash-in on the popularity of rock and funk. Give me a break. This multi-headed funk hydra was just as bewildering to the kids as it was to jazzbo snobs. This was undoubtedly Miles' tightest group of the 70's, and would continue in slightly modified form until Hyde Selim Sivad began a painful 6 year exorcism from which the Jeckyl Miles Davis would re-emerge: healthier, happier, but far less interesting. The "Dark" in "Dark Magus" doesn't only refer to the highlighted Africanisms that the intense focus on writhing, mutating rhythms had honed in on by this point; this is torment, passion, testosterone, and sweat. In short, this music has muscle. This group is amazing it's ability to maintain focus, drive, and coherence while structure shifts on a dime and at every turn. Hendrix-meets-Sharrock avant bluesrock guitar squall snakes through the quaking, swinging, stretching, spiraling rhythms laid down by the Henderson-Mtume-Foster groove factory, while the horn lines of Miles and Liebman skate the surface, divebomb, bounce, and wail. The whole thing is tied together, in a macrostructural sense, by Miles' planes and throbbing waves of organ, to say nothing of his near-telepathic bandleading. Electronic bleeps, splats, and an occasional, textural use of hyperfast drum machines fill in the infrequent spaces in this endless mutational moment. It all sounds so natural and instictive; anything but the chops-fetishist wankeroo that gave fusion a bad name. Less than a year later it would all be over. Almost 30 years later, music still hasn't caught up with some of the most avant-garde, yet some of the funkiest, work of one of the 20th century's great artists.

Check out some more of Miles' 70's period fusion music here:

Miles Davis Group Performing "Ife" in Vienna in 1973

Part 1

Part 2

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