Though the Miles Davis septet’s 11-date Japanese tour included a remarkably well-documented pair of shows in Tokyo, this rough audience tape from Fukuoka on June 28th is one of just two other tour dates in circulation. A tape of the June 30th gig in Osaka is the other, but be warned – the sound is abysmal. Beyond that, the official tour program (below) is one of the few relics from a tour that by all accounts was among the band’s most adventurous.
Sounding as though it were recorded from within an air duct, the fidelity of this Fukuoka tape leaves much to the imagination – “Agharta Prelude” doesn’t offer much beyond Michael Henderson’s punishing bass frequencies, and the audience clap-along in “Zimbabwe” is louder than the tune itself. Still, there are some serious moments of curiosity here, most of which are packed into a 27-minute “Ife” at the start of the tape.
Mtume works the drum machine like a lead instrument from the outset, overwhelming the mix with machine gun bursts of sound as the groove gradually takes shape around him. After Miles states the theme the tune dissolves into a proto-“He Loved Him Madly” – oscillating between waves of pure ambiance and stunning solos from both Cosey and Lucas, the whole affair sounds as though it melts down at various points (the 14-minute mark is a prime example). Easily among the most psychedelic half-hour stretches of Miles’ live electric oeuvre.
An incomplete “Zimbabwe” is little more than a percussion duel between Mtume and Al Foster, though there’s clearly a layer of wordless “Kulu Sé Mama” style vocalization in the mix (!) – hard to say if it’s coming from the crowd or the stage, but session notes make no indication of any extra personnel. A relatively subdued “Black Satin” makes its final recorded appearance tacked onto the end of the tape, but is likely from the evening’s early set.
Get the tape
1. Band warming up (:06)
2. Ife (27:15)
3. Agharta Prelude (13:15)
4. Zimbabwe (6:21)
5. Black Satin (10:18)*+
* Likely from first set
+ Final recorded performance
Miles Davis (trumpet, organ)
Dave Liebman (soprano, tenor, flute)
Pete Cosey (guitar, percussion)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
Michael Henderson (electric bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Mtume (conga, percussion)