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Adventures in Radioland Original recording reissued

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, November 16, 1993
Audio, Cassette, 1986
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Editorial Reviews


Though it always served as a forum for his blazing electric guitar, the Mahavishnu Orchestra also represented John McLaughlin's interest in electronic technology and high-intensity group interaction as well. Those features are all present on this 1986 session, with Bill Evans (another alumnus of Miles Davis's OAelectric bands) on soprano and tenor saxophones, Mitchel Forman on keyboards, Swedish musician Jonas Hellborg on bass, and Danny Gottlieb on drums. This version of the group had been together for a couple of years when it recorded Adventures in Radioland, and it achieves a remarkable mating of instrumental virtuosity and sheer hardware. Guitar synth, drum sequencing, and sampling update the Mahavishnu sound of the 1970s, and the fusion genre as well, while the flying runs of a very gifted band continue the tradition. Electronic highlights include McLaughin's "Jozy," a funky tribute to Joe Zawinul, and "Florianapolis" shows the guitarist's lyrical, acoustic side. --Adam Rains

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Wait
  2. Just Ideas
  3. Jozy
  4. Half Man-Half Cookie
  5. Florianapolis
  6. Gotta Dance
  7. The Wall Will Fall
  8. Reincarnation
  9. Mitch Match
  10. 20th Century Ltd

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B0000046QF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,227 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Some of the reviews I've read about this record typify why Jazz acceptance struggles in its national birthplace. I can't think of a single musical artist who doesn't experiment with their sound and direction. I read complaints about the "cheesy" drum sound as if those players who are placed so high on a pedestal don't have the right to see if a particular musical voice might have some validation in a direction they're pursuing. Respect the artist's courage to try something different rather than resting on their laurels. It's similar to a band that is gun-shy to play new material because the audience only wants to hear what they're comfortable with. Perhaps some of these people who denegrate this album would prefer to see Kenny G. dominating the musical landscape. Wise up folks. Celebrate the existence of Jazz instead of constantly nitpicking or we'll wind up with Rap or "American Idol" and its offshoots determining the course of music in America.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is so diverse in its styles, sounds, dynamics, and themes that I find it very satisfying as a whole. My biggest complaint is the cheesy drum sounds so prevalent when electronic drums first burst onto the scene. I expected more from a John McLaughlin CD. Everyone else, however, is great, with bassist extraordinaire Jonas Hellborg leading the way (his brief, but incredible solo in Gotta Dance is a perfect example). And John's playing is as powerful as ever. From his thoughtful to blistering solo in The Wait (one of my all time favorite songs) to his just-plain-blistering playing in The Wall Will Fall, John does not disappoint. There are a couple of weak tracks on this CD, but the great ones (The Wait, The Wall Will Fall, Reincarnation, & 20th Century Ltd) elevate the overall quality of this CD to 4 1/2 stars!
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Format: Audio CD
Oh man. this ain't easy to write, given that I have been a Johnny Mac fan for years, but "Adventures In Radioland" is NOT a good place to start for the curious beginner, and best left where you found it for long-time listeners.

Same problems as the previous 80's Mahavishnu outing, mostly weak tunes, lots of high-tech gimmickry, painfully cheesy 80's sound quality (and those ABOMINABLE Simmons drums which sound like amplified pizza boxes) and precious little of the brilliance that Johnny Mac is typically known for.

"20th Century Limited" though is a notable exception and very welcome. "Florianaplois" suffers from a really cheesy sing-songy arrangement (not unlike something that would be played on a "Smooth Jazz" station) but oddly enough, it underwent a miraculous transformation with John's trio just a couple years later and came out a fire-breathing piece of great music! "Reincarnation" here with full snooze-inducing effect, was transformed by JM's trio into a breathtakingly beautiful meditative piece. "Just Ideas/Jozy" here suffers from high-tech clutter, later gets reworked by the Trio and regains it's plaintive funkiness. If only these original version were ANYWHERE near as good as the subsequent reworkings. The rest of the tunes are obviously calculated for radio-play at any cost, but just merely fall flat on their faces wallowing in gimmickrey and digital-synth overkill. The one thing different (though not enough to salvage the mess) is that JM wisely shelved that infernal Synclavier/Roland Digital Guitar Synth elephantine noisemaking miserable mechanism (read in Dr. Smith voice). Here he straps on a Les Paul Special for the most part, but unfortunately, his tone is so painfully tinny, metallic and lacking in warmth.

I will say this in its favor though, at least some of the tunes had good raw material that could be reworked into something substantial, otherwise, don't bother.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to this for 24 years, since it came out.
It haunts me to this day. Modern fusion at it's best, years ahead of it's time, or the pinnacle of the fusion era, I can't decide..
I love that John and crew were always searching, for the new and the vast within. There are many styles of music here to pick out in the mix, traditional guitar sounds, modern synths, bop, swing, funk, rock, it's all here. Keyboard player really helps fill out the sound. It's a studio album but has LIVE intensity, to the point I'd say it does better in that regard than most artists do. I've heard all the greats play and they were always better live than the studio album, because they had been touring and really working the tunes for a while, but also it was looser because nobody was afraid of bad notes. Just let go. And John to me, always sounded that way in the studio too! Rare for a musician to just go for it the way he does.

"The Wait" is so amazingly intense, and Bill Evans (!) on sax, tearing it up , Jonas is just RAGING on the bass. This is as good as John ever sounded to my ears, and far more contemporary sounding than the 70's recordings to my ears. Recording quaility is vastly superior to prior Mahavishnu recordings, and the musicianship is obviously more mature and refined. Polished and much more dynamic range than the previous recordings from the 70's. To me the earlier recordings just can't compete with this sonic quality, at all. Night and day.

Anybody complaining about drum sounds is not listening to the the music. The intensity, the depth of the exploration and the unleashed raw power that is John McLaughlin with the best sidemen available. Listen to Jonas Hellborg kill on track 6, he's funky to the max.
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