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Mahavishnu


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Audio CD, June 18, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

John McLaughlin is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of music. Making albums from the 60's through the present, his intense guitar work with The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis gave birth to jazz/fusion. In 1984 he formed a reincarnation of sorts of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Featuring original Mahavishnu drummer Billy Cobham, plus saxophonist Bill Evans and bassist Jonas Hellborg, this high-energy electric album is regarded as one of his best efforts and has been his most sought after album for CD reissue. It is making its worldwide CD debut! Wounded Bird Records.

1. Radio-Activity
2. Nostalgia
3. Nightriders
4. East Side West Side
5. Clarendon Hills
6. Jazz
7. The Unbeliever
8. Pacific Express
9. When Blue Turns To Gold

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Wounded Bird Records
  • ASIN: B000068TLK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,989 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Ian K. Hughes on June 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Under the leadership of famed jazz musician John McLaughlin, "MAHAVISHNU" ( recorded 1984 ) proved to be the last of three albums McLaughlin recorded for the Warner Brothers label. There are intriguing links as well as some disparities between the three. Both "BELO HORIZONTE" and "MUSIC SPOKEN HERE" were mixtures of acoustic and electric instrumentation; the former work had the lighter clarity of an acoustic atmosphere ( "early morning" ) while the latter was steeped in the shadowy hues of more synthesized textures ( "early evening" ). "MAHAVISHNU" ( recorded with a different group of musicians ) displayed a music evocative of a yet darker realm ( "midnight" ). All of the albums, in various ways, draw compositional and textural inspiration from the landmark work of the most consistently creative and long-lived "fusion" band, Weather Report. As to the differences, "BELO HORIZONTE" and "MUSIC SPOKEN HERE" are far more creatively original than the album under review. "MAHAVISHNU", while interesting, cannot help but fall short in comparison to the ( now defunct ) group that so influenced its music.
"MAHAVISHNU" has a mysterious history. First there was the album title, starkly evoking the name of the famed "fusion" band from the 1970's. Then there was the somewhat bizarre original album cover, with its prominent display of the title taking 50% of available surface area and featuring an unidentified photo of McLaughlin in the center. Drummer Billy Cobham ( McLaughlin's bandmate in the original Mahavishnu Orchestra ) was on hand for the recording sessions that produced the album but not for the subsequent tour in Fall 1984 ( when Danny Gottlieb took over the spot ).
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ND.NY on March 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Alot of people don't know this but John McLaughlin was one of, if not the first guitarist to utilize the guitar synthesizer. Now in this recording he utilizes it effectively on many pieces.
For those who are expecting commemoration of the old Mahavishnu Orchestra, you might be disappointed. It's a different band with a more "refined" sound without losing the propulsiveness and/or drive.
Bill Evans saxophone work lends this edition of the band a different feel. Jonas Hellborg is a marvelous bassist and provides a strong undercurrent throughout.
Remember this was done in '85, so the pieces are more structured than the runaway jams of the seventies. Yet the virtousity is there. This and the follow up "Adventures in Radioland" were two of the finer fusion recordings of the eighties.
There is less of the eastern influence in this recording. McLaughlin tone is frankly better here than in earlier recordings. He's less frenetic and is more to the point. Yes, you will find the flying fingers of the fretboard wizardry here but not as an end to itself.
This recording runs the gamut of fusion sensibilities. Bill Evans shines on tenor saxophone. Billy Cobham is Billy Cobham. Just a monster (I mean that in a good way). The pieces run the gamut from introspective to a down right fusion "throwdown".
Put aside your preconceptions and reminiscences about how you remember Mahavishnu. This is a new band and this is a very good recording, well worth getting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Franklin on February 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I first bought this album on vinyl in 1986 at Tower Records, Piccadilly Circus, London. There came a point where I no longer had a turntable so I got rid of all my vinyl albums (big mistake!). I was delighted to see the album had been re-issued on CD as I could vividly remember the rush of first listening to this album. This album is a delight for any lover of good music and especially for fans of mclaughlin/mahavishnu/jazz/fusion. There is a veritable feast of delights inducing all kinds of emotions. Like all good jazz you must allow each of the tracks to develop and reach their climax to achieve the emotional high. Beautiful and Nostalgic.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Detko on September 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This album was disappointing, and JMcG decided to feature the flute patch on his new Synclavier guitar rather than lay down the Fusion Law. It's light and fluffy and there is nothing memorable at all on this album. I think Billy Cobham quit the band very soon after the beginning of the project, or the tour anyway. I went to see the band play on the tour, and Danny Gottleib (Pat Metheney) had replaced him. Milos Forman and Jonas Hellborg were on hand. JMcG started the show playing a Les Paul for ONE SONG. Then he switched to Synclavier guitar...well it was a fantastic show. Gottleib didn't seem to know the tunes very well so McG was constatntly giving him cues, but Gottleib SMOKED! I went back and listened to the album again, but I couldn't make any connection between what I saw and this album. I've tried to sell this album many times but no one wants it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Farhad Bahrami on December 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The players here are great: Billy Cobham of course in his only comeback to Mahavishnu, Bill Evans on saxes/flute, Mitch Foreman on keys, and bass monster Jonas Hellborg. And as for McLaughlin, if you like John's music - which I love - he is his usual fired-up but meditative self.

The sound, as other reviewers have pointed out, is all electric, and if you like that sort of thing, there are some wonderful voices: listen to the awesome "violin" (synth guitar) on the opening "Radio-Activity", or the "trombone" (synth guitar or keys?) on "Florianapolis", or the fluttering duetting flutes (one real, one synth guitar) on "Pacific Express".

While I agree with other reviewers that not all the tunes will end up as standards, I think that a few really should: "Nostalgia" is a beautiful ballad (with a great solo), and "Pacific Express" - with it's flowing melody over driving rhythm section - is unforgettable.

I had this album on LP and got it as soon as it came out on CD. If you like electric jazz, you'll like this.
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