After a string of soundboards and broadcast recordings it’s refreshing to be blasted by an audience tape such as this one from Bologna’s cavernous Palazzo dello Sport – a document that drops you into the center of the mayhem to remind us of just how ungodly, overwhelmingly powerful this band was in the fall of ’73.
The tape fades in on Miles doing some heavy lifting to start the set, taking his time to bend the “Turnaroundphrase” theme into new shapes and relishing the simple joy of letting loose a wild, extended horn solo. Taking a cue from the zigzag chaos that made our previous tape from Belgrade such a thriller, the band drops into “Tune in 5” just long enough for Pete Cosey to get wild before Miles guides them back into “Turnaroundphrase” while layering its melody overtop. Both Cosey and Dave Leibman seem to be caught flat footed by Miles’ vigor as they try their damndest to keep pace.
After 21+ maniac minutes the band drops the tempo on a dime and simply floats into “Ife” as if carried by a current. The ghostly patina of tape hiss is practically an eighth band member here, but listen close as Miles digs deep on organ, matching Cosey freak to freak as the pair lay down a nicely psychedelic undercurrent beneath Liebman’s flute intro. A questionable PA mix pulls Mtume’s rhythm box to the fore (no drum machine on this tour, apparently) while Miles steps out from behind the keyboard for an inspired solo and a tape splice robs us of the tune’s juicy midsection just as Liebman gets rolling.
“Ife” returns post-splice somewhat disjointed but Miles rights the ship and sends the band into an “Untitled Original” that’s rich with Liebman and a healthy dose of audience catcalls. The rowdy crowd threatens to grab hold but a quick shift into “Calyspo Frelimo” briefly satiates before the groove dissolves, the tune (and our tape) slowly disintegrates, and Mtume solos with crowd noise and tape hiss while the curtain falls.
Even through the murk and distractions, it’s clear the band is barreling toward new turf here.
Get the tape (presented as two medleys)
1. Turnaroundphrase (6:07)
2. Tune in 5 (7:33)
3. Turnaroundphrase (6:10)
4. Ife (spliced w/several minutes missing) (17:12)
5. Untitled Original 730424c (4:35)
6. Calypso Frelimo (10:11)
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)