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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; 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 anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.