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Book Reviews

Power, Passion And Beauty: The Story Of The Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra

By Published: August 20, 2006

One subject which Kolosky declines to explore in depth, due to personal ambivalence on the subject, is the Mahavishnu's spirituality. There can surely never have been another band more blatantly fired by spiritual vision than this one. Indeed, McLaughlin's then-guru, Sri Chinmoy, originally gave him the name (Maha = Great, Vishnu = Creator ). The band was created to carry McLaughlin's inspired vision through the music. Although Kolosky touches on this subject in the brief section Music From The Heavens, it would have been valuable if he'd investigated it more fully.

As McLaughlin himself explained, if the music had power, passion, beauty and spiritual intensity, then the people listening would also feel and possess those things in the moment. Judging by the legion of fans giving witness in the book to the life-altering properties of a Mahavishnu concert, one would have to say that, on balance, Mclaughlin appears to be right. The fact that this band perhaps more than any other, previously or since, had this effect upon so many people, bares out the author's claim that they were the "the greatest band that ever was."

Fans and the merely curious alike will find plenty to entertain and inform in this book. As a fan, I found it absolutely riveting. It also works as a coffee table browser, which the casual reader can enjoyably surf at random.

If you're of an age to believe fusion began with the Yellowjackets, you likely won't know much about the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But for fans who witnessed this awesome combo live, and for newcomers too, Power, Passion And Beauty: The Story Of The Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra tells it like it is.

Ahead of their time, in their own time, the band's star burned brightly for two short, glorious years. Judging by the success of the recent Vishnu Fest in New York, and Gregg Bendian's excellent tribute band, The Mahavishnu Project, it's quite likely that the world is only now becoming ready for the power, the passion and the beauty that is the Mahavishnu Orchestra.



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