Monday, December 10, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Mahavishnu Orchestra

Artist:The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Song:The Noonward Race
Album:The Inner Mounting Flame

Like Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a spinoff group from the Miles Davis landmark jazz fusion album Bitches Brew. They were led by legendary guitarist John McLaughlin. The Inner Mounting Flame was a very successful album. But the band dissolved and McLaughlin formed a new Mahavishnu Orchestra for the second album Birds Of Fire. McLaughlin played on Bitches Brew and the idea for The Mahavishnu Orchestra came when he met drummer Billy Cobham at the recording sessions for Davis' score for the film Jack Johnson. Cobham was a member of the jazz rock group Dreams led by Randy and Michael Brecker. Cobham was gaining a reputation for his power. McLaughlin wanted a violin in the band. His first choice was Frenchman Jean-Luc Ponty who had played with Frank Zappa. But immigration concerns forced McLaughlin to find someone else and he hired Jerry Goodman of the jazz rock group The Flock. Keyboard player Jan Hammer played with drummer Elvin Jones and was an early user of the Mini Moog Synthesizer. Irish bassist Rick Laird played with Brian Auger in England and had recently moved to the US. The band was really powerful. The Inner Mounting Flame is available as a budget CD. But there were problems. McLaughlin got credit for all the songs on The Inner Mounting Flame and the guys thought they deserved more credit for the songs. Also, Goodman and Laird did not get along and a brawl broke out in the studio during the recording of The Noonward Race. They recorded a second album at Trident Studios in London but it was never finished and sat in the Columbia Records vault until it was released on CD in 1999. After the band split, McLaughlin formed a new Mahavishnu Orchestra with Jean-Luc Ponty, Gayle Moran, Ralphe Armstrong and Narada Michael Walden. That band recorded Birds Of Fire and then Ponty left over songwriting credit. Billy Cobham left The Mahavishnu Orchestra for a very successful solo career. He was part of the 1984 revival of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. He is one of the all time great jazz drummers. Jan Hammer worked with Jeff Beck on Wired and is best known for composing the music for the 80s TV show Miami Vice. Jerry Goodman recorded solo and with Hammer. In the 90s, he was a member of The Dixie Dregs and he currently works with keyboard player Gary Husband. Rick Laird played with Stan Getz and Chick Corea. He retired from music in 1982 and teaches bass and is a renowned photographer. Here's The Mahavishnu Orchestra performing The Noonward Race on the BBC 1972.

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