Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Burnt Sugar/The Arkestra Chamber: Angels Over Oakanda [CDBaby, 2021]
It was only when I witnessed Greg Tate deploying more brains and heart than any of the other star commentators who render the Miles Davis documentary Birth of the Cool such food for thought that I realized I'd been flummoxed by his 20-year-old band's latest release because it honored '70s Miles, on sheer electricity always a key influence but never before adduced with such revisionist reverence. Here be two tracks of free and two of vamp, neither loud much less abrasive, in a 39-minute gambol we might as well call an Agartha offshoot that aspires to the listenability of In a Silent Way. Tate may have had nothing of the sort in mind, but he won't mind if you do. The only trumpet is Lewis "Flip" Barnes's in the opener. Miles didn't play that much trumpet back then himself. A