6.30.1973 Osaka

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.

Osaka Festival Hall (center) pictured in 2008
Continue reading “6.30.1973 Osaka”

6.28.1973 Fukuoka

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.

Continue reading “6.28.1973 Fukuoka”

6.19 + 6.20.1973 Tokyo

Miles and his newly streamlined septet began a brief tour of Japan in mid June – his first dates in the country since 1964. While the dismissal of sitarist Khalil Balakrishna and percussionist Badal Roy was likely a result of Miles’ desire for a more nimble ensemble, Lonnie Liston Smith’s departure to begin a solo career left the bandleader without a regular keyboardist for the first time. Having competently manned the organ on 1972 studio sessions that produced “Rated X” and “Billy Preston“, Miles simply took over keyboard duties himself beginning here in Japan – contributing sparingly at first but going all-in by year’s end.

This well-documented pair of dates from Tokyo’s Kōsei Nenkin Kaikan concert hall proves the seven-piece ensemble hit the ground running – performing with the confidence of a lineup that knew one another’s strengths and gave everyone room to flex. As Paul Tingen writes in Miles Beyond:

“Bootlegs from this tour show the music at a higher level than before, more focused, elastic, and dynamic. With the ensemble pared down from ten to seven musicians the clutter had gone, revealing the revolutionary essence of the “funk with an experimental edge” in all its clarity.”

Continue reading “6.19 + 6.20.1973 Tokyo”