Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Mahavishnu Orchestra is an epic jazz-rock fusion group that debuted in 1971 and dissolved in 1976. The band was led by "Mahavishnu" John McLaughlin on a double-necked or acoustic guitar, with members Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on electric bass, Jan Hammer on keyboards and piano, and Jerry Goodman on violin.
Their musical style is hardly classifiable into any of the major genres. All of the group's music was instrumental. In general, their songs have the drive and the beat of hard rock thanks to McLaughlin's skill, yet they each display near-Baroque virtuosity in jazz-structured solos. In the aforementioned two albums, though, the group goes from this intense fusion of upbeat genres (the best example of which is "Noonward Race") to very serene tunes such as "A Lotus On Irish Streams", which was wholly a keyboard and acoustic guitar piece, or "Thousand Island Park", or from low-key to extremely busy in a single piece, such as "Open Country Joy." The group also pioneered the guitar synthesizer technology which was currently on the rise, most evident in "Miles Beyond."
In 1973 the band encountered a variety of problems. After recording a concert in Central Park, New York (later to be released as "Between Nothingness and Eternity") tensions started to reach a climax. In 1973/74 McLaughlin, Cobham, and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana began the "Love, Devotion, Surrender Tour." The three played various tracks that would later appear on an album of the same same (studio) and Billy Cobham's 1975 "Spectrum." However, although Cobham was playing at the begining of the USA tour, he bailed out before the album was cut in the studio. The Mahavishnu Orchestra made a quick stop in london to play a few gigs and record various tracks featured on "Between Nothingness and Eternity" as well as others. The tracks were cut at the Trident Studios in London,1974, however a large dispute between te band members began as to royalties and how each musician would be pai. McLaughlin insisted on paying the rest of the band as studio musicians, without giving them royalties and paying very low amounts. The band decided that they deserved more money and recognition than they were getting, and the argument escalated into the downfall of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. The sessions from London were therefor not released at the time considering the rights to the music could not be allocated correctly, however they were released by Sony in 1999 as "The Lost Trident Sessions."
After the group dissolved once in 1974 only to reform with a new cast of supporting musicians behind McLaughlin: Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, Gayle Moran on keyboards, Ralphe Armstrong on the bass, and Narada Michael Walden on percussion. This "new" Mahavishnu Orchestra (which McLaughlin has reportedly called the "real" Mahavishnu Orchestra) released only one studio album, Visions of the Emerald Beyond .
After the final dissolution of the Orchestra, McLaughlin formed another group called Shakti, which was short lived and split up after only less than 2 years. After Shakti, Mcaughlin went on to perform in bands such as the One Truth Band, The Translators, The Free Spirits, the John McLaughlin Guitar trio, and others.
Billy Cobham went on to perfor as a solo artist, cutting many albums including Total Eclipse, Crosswinds, and Spectrum, and toured with the George Duke Band for many years.
- The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
- Birds of Fire (1973)
- Between Nothingness and Eternity (1973)
- Apocalypse (1974)
- Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1975)
- Inner Worlds (1976)
- Mahavishnu (1984)
- Adventures in Radioland (1993)
- The Lost Trident Sessions (1999)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details