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Album Review

The state of the second Mahavishnu Orchestra continued to be volatile in 1975, with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty out, keyboardist Gayle Moran replaced by Stu Goldberg, and all string and horn backings removed, leaving just a steaming quartet and this lone remarkable album. The addition of Goldberg, a more interesting musician than Moran, is significant, but the biggest charge is provided by the leader who, in tandem with the latest electronic equipment, turns in some of his most passionately alive playing of the whole Mahavishnu series. The leadoff track, "All in the Family," has fantastic energy and drive, pushed on by Narada Michael Walden's drums and marimba. "Miles Out" has John McLaughlin doing some inspired jamming with his guitar hooked into a "360 Systems Frequency Shifter" (an electronic device with the wildly fluid sound of a ring-modulator), and he moves over to an early guitar synthesizer on "Morning Calls," "Lotus Feet," and the streaking title track. There is some funk residue from Visions of the Emerald Beyond on "Planetary Citizen," yet oddly enough, the so-so soul vocals from Walden on several tracks, and one by bassist Ralphe Armstrong, do not harm the cause, as the playing of the quartet is so fiery. But this somewhat overlooked album would be the last hurrah for the Mahavishnu concept for nearly a decade — and when it returned, the sounds it produced would bear little resemblance to this power-packed music. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Mahavishnu Orchestra is just the best music ever made.

You could call this Mahavishnu Orchestra III or you can just listen to it and understand that Mahavishnu John McLaughlin is simply the greatest guitar player who has ever lived and one of contemporary jazz's most un-heralded composers. ALL of the Mahavishnu Orchestra albums are superb, the greatest music ever made in my (and many others) opinion. Its impossible to compare these albums to other artists albums they can only be compared to other Mahavishnu discs. WWhile this is probably the most overlooked disc it truly has some of McLaughlins most exciting compositions and playing. If you dismissed this album because it does not have Ponty or Goodman or Hammer or Cobham you really missed out on a great great Mahavishnu release. 5 stars only because I cannot give infinity. The greatest music ever made.\m/ Long Live Mahavishnu Orchestra \m/


Songs with no vocals: astonishing Songs with vocals: OMG turn it off!!!

Mahavishnu Orch.

Last of the Mahavishnu Orchestra albums and while most of the album is tepid, there are enough cuts to make it worth buying. All in the Family is the best of the lot. In My Life is subtle, yet addictive. Gita conjures up frolicking in fields of flowers. And Inner Worlds sounds like what must be going on in McLaughlin's brain when trying to just get through a day. Not my favorite overall, but definitely worth keeping.


Born: January 4, 1942 in Yorkshire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of fusion's most virtuosic guitar soloists, John McLaughlin placed his blazing speed in the service of a searching spiritual passion that has kept his music evolving and open to new influences. Whether shredding on electric or simmering quietly on acoustic, McLaughlin's intensity and underappreciated versatility have nearly always kept his playing vital, and his best moments -- whether as a solo artist or bandmember -- represent some of fusion's greatest recordings. McLaughlin was born January...
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