Prior to its demolition in 2009, Osaka’s original Festival Hall was known for its remarkable acoustics and the iconic live albums left in its wake, including Deep Purple’s Made in Japan, Cheap Trick’s erroneously titled At Budokan, and of course, Miles’ Agharta and Pangea LPs culled from a pair of shows on February 1, 1975.
It’s somewhat ironic that this partial audience tape capturing Miles’ inaugural performance at the venue is possibly the worst-sounding live recording of his entire electric period. But like the similarly dire Fukuoka tape from two nights earlier, there’s some fascinating stuff here if your ears are willing to put in the work.
For reasons unknown, Mtume’s percussion saturates the tape from end to end, giving “Turnaroundphrase” a deceptively heightened level of intensity in contrast to a relatively serene run-through in Tokyo. The band’s slow transition from “Tune in 5” into “Zimbabwe” beginning around 27 minutes in is worth the price of admission, as Pete Cosey unleashes the same sort of unearthly howl that defined his solos on Agharta. Miles is in rare form (when the horn pokes through the muck) and Dave Liebman drops a tenor solo for the books into “Zimbabwe” to presumably close the first set. A brief minute of “Ife” is caught on tape at the start of the second set before we’re mercifully spared more aural annihilation.
Worth a spin for the curious – an essential doc for the completists.
Get the tape
1. Turnaroundphrase (23:08)
2. Tune in 5 (9:30)
3. Zimbabwe (11:44)
4. Ife (incomplete) [second set] (1:03)
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)