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; they can be played to anyone who likes jazz and doesn't dislike Rock.The third tracks of each recording ("The Noonward Race" and "Celestial Terrestrial commuters" are the virtuosic showpieces. Leaving out "sapphie Bullets Of pure Love"- a 21 second collage on BOF, the next numbers ("A Lotus On Irish Streams" and "Thousand Island Park") are 'classical' pieces. Next comes "Vital Transformation" and "Hope", respectively, the powerhouse Rock performance showpieces of each album, a Rock fan will appreciate them almost immediately.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.