Monday, April 09, 2012

The Mahavishnu Orchestra

Anyone who knows me well enough knows I love King Crimson, one of the first and foremost progressive-rock, jazz-fusion bands.  Now King Crimson may not actually be very well-known, but their sister band The Mahavishnu Orchestra is known even less.  Come to think of it though, I actually heard of them first... A reference was made in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and a week or so later, I stumbled upon a record in a local shop.  It was my first real taste of jazz-fusion, and I was immediately hooked.

"Birds of Fire"

Formed in 1971 (and then again in 1984), The Mahavishnu Orchestra was created and fronted by John McLaughlin, who was basically their version of Robert Fripp. (Which means nothing to those of you who know nothing about King Crimson, but I digress...)  The band went through many line-up changes as well as a random break-up/re-form, and McLaughlin was (as far as I know) the only member who remained through every variation.

"Meeting of The Spirits"

I think "creative" is an understatement when referring to this band.  Many times, each instrumentalist is playing something different than the rest and at a drastically different time signature.  Somehow, it always melds together perfectly into a marvelous piece of music... and one that never sounds awkward or causes a headache.


I don't think there's all that much more that I can say about The Mahavishnu Orchestra, as the music really speaks for itself.  And there's no middle ground with them either. You love it or you don't... and I love it.

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