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BOOK REVIEWS

Walter Kolosky: Power, Beauty and Passion - The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra

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Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu OrchestraWalter KoloskyPages: 325ISBN:978-0-9761016-8-0 Self-published e-book2012Walter Kolosky's Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra (Abstract Logix Books, 2005) now finds its way into e-book format, which is good news for trees as well as for die-hard Mahavishnu Orchestra fans. In the interval since publication of the original book, Kolosky has conducted further interviews with members of that ground-breaking and hugely influential jazz-fusion band that throw further light on the music, the demise of the classic ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Live at Montreux 1984/1974

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With the completion of legendary guitarist John McLaughlin's 2007 tour with his new group The 4th Dimension--his first fusion tour in North America in nearly a decade, there are plenty of opportunities to reexamine the tour in the context of earlier groups. While for some, the litmus test will always be his first, groundbreaking Mahavishnu Orchestra that recorded the classic The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia, 1971), the truth is that McLaughlin has continued to evolve in a myriad of contexts. From the Indo-centric Shakti and Remember Shakti to his trio with Trilok Gurtu and his late 1990s Heart of Things ...

BOOK REVIEWS

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

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Power, Passion And Beauty: The Story Of The Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra Walter Kolosky Paperback; 313 pages ISBN 0-9761016-2-9 Abstract Logix Books 2005

Before the corporate whitewash of the disco plague obliterated a golden age of musical creativity, there was a time when artists with a musical vision, fired by spiritual fervour, could reach a global audience with the full backing of a multi national record label.

Fuelled by previously unheard levels of instrumental dexterity, volume and eastern musical wisdom, guitarist John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra may indeed have been “the greatest ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra

Read "Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra"

Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra Walter Kolosky Paperback; 313 pages ISBN 0-9761016-2-9 Abstract Logix Books 2005 Anyone who's old enough to have experienced the Mahavishnu Orchestra's debut The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia/Legacy, 1971) when it was first released knew--whether they liked it or not, whether they understood it or not--that a sudden and monumental shift in modern music had just taken place. Sure, others had begun combining the improvisational prowess of jazz with the volume and energy of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Visions of the Emerald Beyond

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Visions of the Emerald Beyond is the most-overlooked and under-appreciated recording John McLaughlin has ever made. This album, released in 1975, features an expanded Mahavishnu line-up that went beyond a horn and string section to include the dynamic Narada Michael Walden on drums and fusion superstar Jean Luc Ponty on violin.This album is drenched in a new sort of funkiness that McLaughlin had not explored in previous Mahavishnu recordings.“Eternity's Breath" opens the album, and right away you know you are in for a sonic treat. McLaughlin's notes are fat and strong. Walden's drumming is powerful and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Lost Trident Sessions

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Almost 30 years after its original recording, producer Bob Belden came across the master tapes of what would become The Lost Trident Sessions. Belden had been working on the remastering of Birds of Fire when he discovered these tapes, and the rest is history (so to speak). At long last, the aborted final studio effort of The Mahavishnu Orchestra saw the light of day.

Since this studio effort was never finished, the live Between Nothingness and Eternity was released instead, featuring several numbers from the failed recording sessions. McLaughlin apparently felt the studio efforts had not been fully ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Inner Worlds

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Every McLaughlin album has something to offer, and Inner Worlds is no exception. However, it is easily McLaughlin's weakest outing. Released in 1976, Inner Worlds features the third and scaled down edition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. No more strings. No more horns. No more Ponty. Was this album made just to finish the contract out? Who knows? After the exciting Visions Of The Emerald Beyond, this record was a disappointment. So much more had been expected.Michael Walden on drums, Stu Goldberg on synthesizer and Ralphe Armstrong on bass add their highly capable talents to the mix, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame

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The Inner Mounting Flame was the first album which totally captured the power of hard rock and the freewheeling improvisational aspects of jazz. Larry Coryell, Miles Davis, and Tony Williams' Lifetime had tried something like this with some success in previous years. (It was no mistake McLaughlin was attached to all three of those efforts.) But none of that output captured the spirit like the Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1971 recording The Inner Mounting Flame. The Inner Mounting Flame 's ascending and descending distortion-laden mantra-like riffs and unison playing set a standard for jazz-rock that is still in place today. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds of Fire

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In 1973, hard rock ruled the universe. But Birds of Fire , a pure instrumental jazz-rock album, managed to crack into the Billboard Top 20 Rock Charts. This was unheard of. And so was the music. Birds of Fire advanced fusion into the modern age, a mere year after the band's The Inner Mounting Flame had given it its real birth. Rock and jazz fans from all over the world tuned into the Mahavishnu Orchestra and it seemed as if there was no end in sight. Jan Hammer now played the MOOG synthesizer, and the new voice ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Between Nothingness and Eternity

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Between Nothingness and Eternity was released in 1973 and proved to be the swansong of the first edition of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. While the band had produced two truly great studio albums previously, BNE was intended to showcase its legendary live performance. Disappointingly, this recording does not fully capture that experience. Despite that failing, the album remains a powerhouse of a recording and is a fitting testament to the driving force that was the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. BNE was recorded live in NYC’s Central Park in 1973. (The stage was set up in an outdoor hockey rink, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Apocalypse

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Wow! This 1974 recording had a great pedigree. First, you had Beatles producer George Martin. Then Michael Tilson Thomas, the young and gifted classical conductor, waving his magic wand in front of the London Symphony Orchestra. Jazz violin superstar Jean Luc Ponty stepped up as part of a newly expanded Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the teenage bass phenom Ralphe Armstrong more than capably held down the bottom end. Gayle Moran, Chick Corea's girlfriend, handled the keyboards and vocals, and Narada Michael Walden played drums. Last, of course, the guitar master Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, leading an Orchestra that was augmented by an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John McLaughlin/ Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame - Birds Of Fire

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This is a review of the similarities of The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire, both performed by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, led by John McLaughlin, the guitarist and composer. The Inner Mounting Flame, originally released in 1971, and re-issued as a remaster in 1999, is the better of the two albums. Birds Of Fire, originally released in 1973, and re-issued as a remaster in 2000, continues some of The Inner Mounting Flame 's themes. The first track of each album is generally considered the 'best' of each disc; and the track “Birds of Fire" is a re-make of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Inner Mounting Flame/ Birds of Fire

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John McLaughlin did more sophisticated offerings after leaving Mahavishnu Orchestra, and these are not my favorite recordings of his; yet The INNER MOUNTING FLAME and BIRDS OF FIRE work nicely as companion albums- I think of them as bookend fusion albums- sister recordings.

Each album begins with its 'best' number ("Meeting Of The Spirits" on TIMF; title track on BOF). “Birds Of Fire" is a remake of “Meeting Of The Spirits", and they both have a bass- violin of slightly 'Indian' derivation, and a not-dissimilar guitar-violin duet. The next tracks on each album("Dawn" and “Miles Beyond" are the most accessible; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds Of Fire

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This review is a brief track-by-track survey of Mahavishnu Orchestra's BIRDS OF FIRE ('73). The title track, which commences the album, opens with cymbal, electric twelve string guitar, and synthesizer; then the bass and violin enter, playing the same ostinato. The machinegun speed 12(?) note guitar-violin duet that follows is the shrieking bird, and though 'blistering' is an over-used word, the first of two guitar solos IS blistering, nonharmonic guitar and synthesizer tones added. The shrieking bird duet is repeated several times, but it is the ending that makes the track: 'lava' sonority synthesizer with the appropriate non-harmonic guitar tones. ...



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