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Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Lost Trident Sessions CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.17 | 188 ratings

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4 stars Just like many before me, I didn't think much of this recording's cover art which made me first assume that The Lost Trident Sessions was just another live improv recording with average sound production. Luckily I still gave this album a shot and, in retrospect, I'm really glad I did since this material is almost as good as anything on Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire!

The basic story behind these sessions was that they were recorded in 1973 but due to disagreements between the band members had never received an official release until the '90s. Instead, the first lineup of Mahavishnu Orchestra went on to record the live album Between Nothingness And Eternity that consisted entirely of this new unreleased material. Unlike the previous two albums, this one didn't consist entirely of John McLaughlin-penned material meaning that everyone except for Billy Cobham pitched in a song of their own. Still it's McLaughlin's material that dominates in both the terms of quality and space.

The album begins with a quality number called Dream that doesn't start off as another one of those epic record openers that Mahavishnu Orchestra was so famous for. Instead the intricate acoustic guitar sounds sooth the listener into a dream-like state until the composition slowly begins to evolve towards a much heavier format. The track even turns into a full fletched Blues-rock number towards its 5th minute, something that truly surprised me the first time I heard it! Still, Mahavishnu Orchestra doesn't let us forget their Fusion origin and so the band-members slowly transition the track towards that point of origin.

Trilogy is a composition that I have mixed feelings about. Just like the title suggests, this track consists of three sections that don't actually have any fluid transitions between them. Every section ends with a fade out/fade in effect that creates a bumpy ride for anyone trying to get into the groove of the material. The first section, called The Sunlit Path, is easily my favorite and I honestly think that the band could have written this whole 10 minute composition based around this one theme. Unfortunately this was not to be and the two remaining sections turn out to be inferior in comparison to such a promising beginning.

After the two extensive tracks we're greeted with a couple non-McLaughlin written compositions and that's also when the album's quality drops a notch. The music suddenly stops sounding like a band effort and instead jumps between the instruments just to keep a sense of direction. Jan Hammer's Sister Andrea is probably my favorite of these numbers while Jerry Goodman's I Wonder is probably the weirdest. It's as if this compositions brings out a new side to Mahavishnu Orchestra that I've honestly could have lived without... and No, it doesn't make me wonder! Still the biggest disappointments come right towards the end with McLaughlin 's jam session titled John's Song #2.

Overall I might have seemed negative about The Lost Trident Sessions which is somewhat unfair. It might not be my favorite release from the first Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup but it still has enough magnificent moments to receive my recommendation. If you're a huge fan of this band and haven't heard this release then you're definitely missing out. As for everyone else, this is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Dream (11:06)

**** star songs: Trilogy (The Sunlit Path / La Mère De La Mer / Tomorrow's Story Not The Same) (9:30) Sister Andrea (6:43) I Wonder (3:07)

*** star songs: Steppings Tones (3:09) John's Song #2 (5:53)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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