Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mahavishnu Orchestra : Birds Of Fire 1973

The band's first lineup featured English guitarist "Mahavishnu" John McLaughlin, Panamanian drummer Billy Cobham, Irish bassist Rick Laird, Czechoslovakian keyboardist Jan Hammer, and American violinist Jerry Goodman. McLaughlin had worked with Cobham and Goodman on his third solo album My Goal's Beyond (1971), and asked Cobham to become the drummer in his new jazz-rock fusion band he wished to form, which he accepted. The violin was an instrument that had interested McLaughlin since childhood, and could not have Jean-Luc Ponty, his first choice, due to immigration problems.

McLaughlin had particular ideas for the instrumentation of the group, in keeping with his highly original concept of genre-blending in composition. He particularly wanted a violinist as an integral contributor to its overall sound.

As the group evolved, McLaughlin adopted what became his visual trademark — a double neck guitar (six-string and twelve-string) which allowed for a great degree of diversity in musical textures—and Hammer became one of the first to play a Minimoog synthesizer in an ensemble, which enabled him to add more sounds and solo more freely, alongside the guitar and the violin.

Birds of Fire is Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album. It was released during the first half of 1973 and is the last studio album released by the original band line-up before it dissolved, although Between Nothingness & Eternity, a live album, was recorded and released later that same year. The final studio recordings by this line-up would be released as The Lost Trident Sessions in 1999.

As with the Mahavishnu Orchestra's previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. This includes the track "Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)", which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.

 Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading -- with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham's machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird's dancing bass -- can be heard on the aptly named "One Word," and the title track is a defining moment of the group's nearly atonal fury.


01.Birds of Fire     5:50
02.Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)     4:47
03.Celestial Terrestrial Commuters     2:54
04.Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love     0:24
05.Thousand Island Park     3:23
06.Hope     1:59
07.One Word     9:57
08.Sanctuary     5:05
09.Open Country Joy     3:56
10.Resolution     2:09


John McLaughlin - guitars
Rick Laird - bass
Billy Cobham - drums, percussion
Jan Hammer - keyboards, Moog synthesizer
Jerry Goodman - violin
Ken Scott - Engineer


John McLaughlin (born 4 January 1942 in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England), also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English guitarist, bandleader and composer. His music includes many genres of jazz which he coupled with elements of rock, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco and blues to become one of the pioneering figures in fusion.

His 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused electric jazz and rock with Indian influences.

McLaughlin has been cited as an influence by a number of prominent musicians. He is a Grammy award winner and has been awarded multiple "Guitarist of the year" and "Best Jazz Guitarist" awards from magazines such as Down Beat and Guitar Player based on reader polls. In 2003,


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Laird played music from a young age and enrolled for guitar and piano lessons. He started playing jazz after moving to New Zealand at the age of 16 with his father. He played guitar in jam bands in New Zealand before buying an upright bass. After extensive touring in New Zealand he moved to Sydney, Australia, where he played with many top jazz musicians including Don Burrows.

He moved to England in 1962 and became house bassist at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, playing with many greats including the guitarist Wes Montgomery and Sonny Stitt and even with Buddy Rich, most notably the residence at The Talk of the Town in 1969. From 1963 to 1964 Laird was at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was recorded on Sonny Rollins's record Alfie and played in The Brian Auger Trinity (July 1963-February 1964) and The Brian Auger Group (February–October 1964).


William Emanuel Cobham Jr. (born May 16, 1944) is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. According to AllMusic's reviewer, Cobham is "generally acclaimed as fusion's greatest drummer". He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2


Jerry Goodman (born March 16, 1949, Chicago, Illinois) is an American violinist best known for playing electric violin in the bands The Flock and the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra. Goodman actually began his musical career as The Flock's roadie before joining the band on violin. Trained in the conservatory, both of his parents were in the string section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His uncle was the noted composer and jazz pianist Marty Rubenstein.

After his 1970 appearance on John McLaughlin's album My Goal's Beyond, he became a member of McLaughlin's original Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup until the band broke up in 1973, and was viewed as a soloist of equal virtuosity to McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Billy Cobham.

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