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Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity (Remastered) [Live]

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Album Review

The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's original very slim catalog was padded out somewhat by this live album (recorded in New York's Central Park) on which the five jazz/rock virtuosos can be heard stretching out at greater length than in the studio. There are only three selections on the disc, all of which were to have been on the group's then-unissued third album — two of them, guitarist John McLaughlin's "Trilogy: Sunlit Path/La Merede la Mer" and keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," are proportioned roughly as they were in their studio renditions, while the third, McLaughlin's "Dream," is stretched to nearly double its 11-minute studio length. Each develops organically through a number of sections, and there are fewer lockstep unison passages than on the earlier recordings. McLaughlin is as flashy and noisy as ever on double-necked electric guitar, and Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman are a match for him in the speed department, with drummer Billy Cobham displaying a compelling, raw power and dexterity to his work. Yet for all of the superb playing, one really doesn't hear much music on this album; electricity and competitive empathy are clearly not enough, particularly on the 21-minute "Dream," which left a lot of fans feeling let down at the end of its side-two-filling run. The studio versions of these three pieces, along with other tracks being worked up for their third album, have appeared as The Lost Trident Sessions — dating from May and June of 1973 — thus giving fans a means of comparing this repertory to what the band had worked out (or not worked out) in the studio; and Between Nothingness and Eternity has come up a bit in estimation as a result, benefiting as it does from the spontaneity and energy of a live performance, though even that can only carry this work so far — beyond the personality conflicts that broke up the band, they seem to have been approaching, though not quite reaching, a musical dead end as well. ~ Richard S. Ginell & Bruce Eder, Rovi

Customer Reviews

New Release of Live Mahavishnu - Never Before Available

First of all the “Album Review” above does not actually relate to this release. The review is for the original ‘Between Nothingness & Eternity’ 1973 live album released in 1974 whereas this is actually a brand new release of previously unavailable recordings. These are in fact never before released performances recorded during the same 1973 live shows in New York’s Central Park which have only just recently become available, actually released as a bonus disc included in the 2011 released 'Complete Columbia Albums Collection’ series Mahavishnu Orchestra box set.

Thanks to the ubiquity of various live bootlegs and particularly now the prolific selection of concert recordings on Wolfgang’s Vault, the original Mahavishnu Orchestra’s live performances are well documented and quite readily available. But this release is really special and absolutely indispensible for a number of reasons.

Firstly the sound is a revelation. McLaughlin himself evidently oversaw the re-mastering of this music for this release and the sound is nothing short of superb – the sound alone makes it worthy of the 5 star rating! There has never been any live Mahavishnu Orchestra available with sound anything close to being as excellent as this. Now we can finally hear what this band really sounded like in its full majesty. The sound on the original ‘Between Nothingness & Eternity’ live album was famously dreadful and remained so on subsequent CD releases. (BTW the original ‘Between Nothingness & Eternity’ recordings were also re-mastered for the 'Complete Columbia Albums Collection’ release and are GREATLY improved). No more tinny Rhodes sound, barely discernible guitar comping, muffled bass guitar, and drums that sound like cardboard boxes. Right from the very beginning when Cobham intros into the first tune “Hope” and the sound of his bass drums absolutely smack you in the face, you realize that this is a Mahavishnu live recording the likes of which you have never heard before. And it only gets better from there.

Secondly, the performances themselves are nothing short of sensational. Listen to the various bootlegs and concert recordings on Wolfgang’s Vault (and I’ve listened to them all) and you’ll find that the band was wildly improvisational every night and each musician was constantly pushing their virtuosity (and their instruments) to the very limit. So some of the performances, though still never anything less than brilliant, could be a little ragged in places. But these recordings are staggering; the band is so “on” from start to finish, it’s an almost supernatural performance. They are just nailing it on every tune and it leaves you breathless. This version of “The Dance of Maya” is one of the greatest pieces of music you’ll ever hear; it’s a towering performance of this quintessential Mahavork tune.

Often referred to as “the greatest band that ever was”, the Mahavishnu Orchestra during thier very short time together exhibited a chemistry and level of musical telepathy beyond explanation. The power, intensity and emotional impact of their performances have never been equaled. There was never anything like the Mahavishnu Orchestra before and there has been nothing like them since, and nothing proves this more convincingly than these previously unreleased and beautifully re-mastered live recordings.

MUST HAVE!

This is a better remastering job than what is available at Wolfgangsvault.

This is a must have for anyone studying fusion music. I hope they continue to remaster other live recordings, that's where the gold is.

Woe

This is insane. A perfect companion with the first live album 'between nothingness and eternity'.

This is the real deal.

Biography

Formed: 1971

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s

One of the premiere fusion groups, the Mahavishnu Orchestra were considered by most observers during their prime to be a rock band, but their sophisticated improvisations actually put their high-powered music between rock and jazz. Founder and leader John McLaughlin had recently played with Miles Davis and Tony Williams' Lifetime. The original lineup of the group was McLaughlin on electric guitar, violinist Jerry Goodman, keyboardist Jan Hammer, electric bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Billy Cobham....
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