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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jungle music before it existed
Along with its' sister companion piece Agharta - both recorded on the 1st February 1975 - this is one of those albums you simply have to hear before you die type. Comprised of two songs spread on two discs, each lasting over forty minutes, its true that it's not for everyone, and obviously requires a lot of time and patience. And you can't really have this set as...
Published on 3 April 2008 by Dan Jose

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deranged!
This is not an album for the fainthearted - nor to those unaquainted with Miles' more extreme work. Basically you get two very lengthy jams (40+ minutes each!). Zimbabwe is probably the less successful of the two, being manically driven in pace, broken up by a stopping and starting which gives the impression of the rhythm section needing to stop for breath (for all I know...
Published on 25 Jun. 2001 by A. D. R. MARKS


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jungle music before it existed, 3 April 2008
This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Along with its' sister companion piece Agharta - both recorded on the 1st February 1975 - this is one of those albums you simply have to hear before you die type. Comprised of two songs spread on two discs, each lasting over forty minutes, its true that it's not for everyone, and obviously requires a lot of time and patience. And you can't really have this set as background music, as their are just so many subtle textures and sounds that require your full attention in order to appreciate it.

Starting with the first track, "Zimbabwe", this is an utterly relentless, mind-melting tour-de-force. Al Foster and Mtume on drums and percussion are like possessed demons, absolutely mammoth in providing a hard, fast rhythm that sounds like it's come deep from the jungles of Africa. Along with Reggie Lucas and Michael Henderson on rhythm guitar and bass respectively, they provide the background for Miles Davis, Sonny Fortune and the insane Pete Cosey to perform solos with their trumpet, saxophone and guitar for extended periods of time. If you don't feel alive or energized during this track, you're most likely dead.

The second disc is taken up by "Gondwana", a much more mellow, leisurely jam, with a beautiful flute solo to guide you in by the multi-talented Fortune. Some of Lucas' stuff on here is amazing if you listen closely, and there's one of the best solos that Davis ever played in his life in the latter part of this track, and the other band members know it, noticeably spurring him on. I particularly like some of the sound effects that occur intermittently, making the whole appear very natural, as if this is the ideal soundtrack for those nature documentaries. This cut reminds me a lot of "Maiysha" on Agharta, as even though it's supposed to be a gentle performance in principle, Davis surprises the listener as he always does by allowing the members to become vicious and scary-sounding at very short notice.

At first, I preferred Zimbabwe, as its impossible not to get sucked in by the voodoo grooves and dark funk that Davis is aiming for, and succeeds in reaching. Also, on casual listen, Gondwana can appear very meandering and aimless, but recently the latter has become my favourite, just for the atmosphere and originality it creates. One thing that amazes me about these two recordings is that at no point do the musicians appear to get bored with a particular groove and consciously try changing it into something else. Everything just seems to happen organically, as if there really is no other way these jams could have played out. If you're into either jazz or rock, and you like your extended, completely improvised instrumental jams, then there really is no better place to look. One of the best live albums available, and that is not an overstatement.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but brilliant., 16 Mar. 2003
By 
Adam V (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Part of the same concert date in 1975 as 'Agharta,' 'Pangaea' contains only two extended tracks. Miles' approach in the studio during this period had often been to record long improvisations from which to edit and piece together material to produce a coherent finished product. On 'Pangaea' this process is transfered to a live context, but without the editing, other than Miles' on stage direction. This 'process as performance' music is under pressure in a live situation, needing to be focused and coherent throughout. Given time to listen properly to these tracks, that is certainly achieved, a remarkable feat by any standards.
The two tracks are distinctly different in character, although each contains shifts in mood,tempo and rhythmic structure accross their forty minute plus durations.
'Zimbabwe' begins fast and furious with a dense impenetrable wall of sound, the guitars giving the sound a sinister edge before Miles enters with staccato trumpet lines. This is followed up by a brilliant Sonny Fortune solo on alto sax. Miles quietens things down a couple of times,creating atmospherics with trumpet through a wah wah pedal.
The second half of the track is more mid tempo and funky, a little reminiscent of Hendrix's Band of Gypsys, with the guitarists in good form.
The African influences Miles was bringing to his music are most evident in the percussion work of Mtume, who gets a solo spot on each track and backs Sonny Fortune's mysterious flute intro to 'Gondwana' with a steady tribal rhythm.
Although still a little abstract, 'Gondwana' is far calmer than 'Zimbabwe' and in Miles' second and third solos, he produces his most lyrical and spacious playing of the entire date, again with clever and subtle use of the wah wah pedal to vary the sound of individual notes. The guitar work is also excellent on this track with a slowly burning solo which builds and maintains tension. Although the track drifts a bit towards the end, it is perhaps the best thing on either record, althiough overall, I still can't decide which of 'Agharta' and 'Pangaea' I prefer.
They are not easy records to listen to, 'Pangaea' probably being the more callenging of the two, so if you're a Kenny G fan, stay away! This is nonetheless, extraordinary music unlike anything else in even Miles' varied discography. If you can get into it , it will take over your stereo for a week or two!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocking the Rising Sun., 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Being a fan of seventies rock music, Miles Davis's electric period has become a body of work that has caught my interest of late.
Along with "A Tribute to Jack Johnston", "Pagaea" is the most rock orientated of Davis's work (Dark Magus is considered his heaviest record, but it's more relentless that hard rock).
Although consisting of just two tracks as with Mile's previous releases the songs are cut down into sections, with various moods, pace & styles & is surprisingly accessible, with some great melodies.
It not a million miles away from what acts like Hendrix, The Who & Led Zeppelin used to do in concert, when they would take one of their songs & do an extended instrumental break in the middle of it.
So if your drawn to this period of Miles Davis back catalogue, this would be a good place to start that journey.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Retirement day, part 2, 15 April 2015
This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Recorded in Osaka, Japan on 1st February 1975 this is the sister album to "Agharta", which comprised the afternoon set - here is the evening one and the last professional recording Miles made before retiring for a six year lay off. Whilst still an excellent album it doesn't quite hit the heights of "Agharta" with Davis exhausted through bad health and spending large portions of the concert leaving his sidemen to keep to the groove. Regardless, when Miles does make a contribution it is a telling one, with parts of the album unique it makes it an essential part of the Canon. The double album lists just two tracks, and indeed there is a huge extended jam going on with guitar work to the fore, however what is actually contained in the tracks is:

Disc 1 - second set part 1: "Zimbabwe" (41:18)

Turnaroundphrase 11:05
Tune in 5 4:53
Turnaroundphrase 3:11
Tune in 5 2:41
Zimbabwe 19:28

Disc 2 - second set part 2: "Gandwana" (46:50)

Ife 18:56
For Dave [aka Mr. Foster] 27:54

As usual with Miles' live concerts however it's more themes that appear occasionally, with improvisation making this effectively a new album as Miles had eschewed the studio at the time. Well produced by Teo Macero, "Zimbabwe" is the faster and funkier track, opening with a huge crash of drums from Al Foster."Gandwana" opens with a flute is a much more controlled work, with extended passages of guitar and Miles content to interject sparingly. There is excellent music here, with "Gandwana" simmering rather than cooking which more describes the African-themed "Zimbabwe", a well-titled piece. Throughout its a brooding atmosphere, a different mood to "Agharta" and thus something different to enjoy. That two concerts on the same day could be so yin and yang makes the purchase of both well worth it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funky, 20 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Miles Davis' African-feeling funk style encompassed four live albums: Dark Magus, In Concert, Agharta and Pangaea. Pangaea, the second of two Osaka live recordings, is a glorious gumbo of the best of Miles' work over the preceding years. There are such enthralling moments as the brief glimpse of "Willie Nelson", a track Miles used often in concert performances, on "Zimbabwe".
"Zimbabwe" if upbeat and funky, "Gondwana" is laid-back and cool, and they complement each other well. My only complaint about this double-CD set is the length of the tracks - there is only one track per disc, both clocking in at over 40 minutes. This can make listening frustrating, but perseverance with "Pangaea" is rewarding.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deranged!, 25 Jun. 2001
By 
A. D. R. MARKS "adrmarks" (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
This is not an album for the fainthearted - nor to those unaquainted with Miles' more extreme work. Basically you get two very lengthy jams (40+ minutes each!). Zimbabwe is probably the less successful of the two, being manically driven in pace, broken up by a stopping and starting which gives the impression of the rhythm section needing to stop for breath (for all I know that may well have been the case). Miles presence is slight (his health was poor at the time) but the band whip up an aural storm nonetheless. 'Gondwana' is the more successful of the two tracks, being a mellow groove which builds and builds and on which the litener can float away (pardon the dodgy mixed metaphor please).
The liner notes speak of the album being something of a 'negative crossover' - to weirdly jazz for rock fans and too hard and driving for jazz heads. There's a degree of truth to this, but with perseverence there is much to enjoy, but certainly this is not for casual listening.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice suprise purchase, 17 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Pangea (MP3 Download)
I never thiught i'd like this side of Miles, but an excellent album especially track two. Good download price, a bargain
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5.0 out of 5 stars just Perfect, 1 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Pangea (MP3 Download)
Perfect music as expected from Miles. Got the download free from some comparison site , so even more pleased. Thanks
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make a jazz noise, 21 Mar. 2015
By 
Roy WD (ROCHESTER,KENT United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Mad genius. Just a crazy listen. Great stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Pangaea (Audio CD)
Thanks
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