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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds Of Fire CD (album) cover

BIRDS OF FIRE

Mahavishnu Orchestra

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.36 | 885 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Birds of Fire" is the 2nd full-length studio album by multi-national jazz rock/fusion act Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album was released through C.B.S./Columbia Records in March 1973. Itīs the second and last album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra mark I lineup of John McLaughlin (guitars), Jerry Goodman (violin), Jan Hammer (piano/Keys), Rick Laird (bass) and Billy Cobham (drums), before Mahavishnu Orchestra split-up the first time. This lineup ended up not being on good terms with each other and it took many years (26 years to be precise) before their failed attempt at recording a third album was released as "The Lost Trident Sessions (1999)".

All involved are highly skilled musicians and they deliver performances here thatīs technically incredibly challenging. Stylistically they pretty much continue the jazz rock/fusion style of their debut album "Inner Mounting Flame (1971)". The more prominant use of synths on "Birds of Fire" is the most major difference between the albums. Compositionally the two albums also have a lot in common even though the compositional structures are generally a bit more developed on "Birds of Fire". There are still a lot of focus on long solo sections and not so much on reoccuring themes and recognisable melodies. To my ears thatīs a bit of a shame, because when Mahavishnu Orchestra chose to focus on composed parts like they do on "Hope" or in the last minute of "One Word", they are absolutely brilliant. And donīt get me wrong here, those noodling solo sections are very well played and make my jaw drop several times, but too many of the tracks on the album have an unfinished feel to them. Itīs as if they were hurriedly composed for the band to have something to jam over in a live setting.

So while "Birds of Fire" is the better album compared to "Inner Mounting Flame (1971)" (which featured even more unfinished sounding tracks), and it features both a strong organic sound production and outstanding musicianship, Iīm still tempted to use words like cold and emotionless about it. Too much improvisational noodling and not enough compositional depth. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating isnīt all wrong.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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