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Dark Magus: Live At Carnegie Hall

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Album Review

Dark Magus is a live recording of a very specific 1974 Carnegie Hall date that included most, but not all, of the members who recorded the classics Agharta and Pangaea. While drummer Al Foster, bassist Michael Henderson, percussionist James Mtume, and guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas were all present, the key element of Sonny Fortune was not yet in the band. Saxophonists David Liebman and Azar Lawrence were doubling in the saxophone chairs, while Dominique Gaumont, with his Jimi Hendrix-styled effects and riffs, was the band's third guitarist. The deep voodoo funk that gelled on the aforementioned recordings hadn't yet come together on this night at Carnegie, near the end of a tour. Featuring four titles, all of them Swahili names for the numbers one through four, Dark Magus is a jam record. By this point, Miles was no longer really rehearsing his bands; they showed up and caught a whiff of what he wanted and went with it. Rhythms, colors, keys — all of them would shift and change at Davis' whim. There were no melodies outside of a three-note vamp on "Wili" and a few riff-oriented melodics on "Tatu" — the rest is all deep rhythm-based funk and dark groove. Greasy, mysterious, and full of menacing energy, Dark Magus shows a band at the end of its rope, desperate to change because the story has torn itself out of the book, but not knowing where to go and turning in on itself instead. These dynamics have the feel of unresolved, boiling tension. Gaumont's effects-laden guitar playing overshadows the real guitarists in the band: Cosey and his partner, the rhythmically inventive Lucas. Gaumont doesn't fit naturally, so he tries to dazzle his way in — check the way Miles cuts his solos off so abruptly while letting the others dovetail and segue. Ultimately, Dark Magus is an over-the-top ride into the fragmented mind of Miles and his 1974 band; its rhythm section is the most compelling of any jazz-rock band in history, but the front lines, while captivating, are too loose and uneven to sustain the listener for the entire ride.

Biography

Born: 26 May 1926 in Alton, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-'40s to the early '90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the...
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Dark Magus: Live At Carnegie Hall, Miles Davis
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  • 10,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock, Fusion
  • Released: 1977

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