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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Between Nothingness & Eternity  CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.71 | 172 ratings

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4 stars By 1973, Mahavishnu Orchestra was seeing quite a bit of turbulence. Their previous album "Birds of Fire" had seen some success and the band seemed to be on their way up. The follow up album (their third) was planned to another studio album, however, tensions in the band led to the scrapping of that album, and it was decided to release "Between Nothingness & Eternity", a live album which featured songs from the scrapped studio album. Jan Hammer (keyboardist) and Jerry Goodman (violinist) had said in an interview that they didn't like the way John McLaughlin was managing the band. Failed recording session resulted in band members not talking to each other. The band was exhausted from their extensive touring. Things had reached a boiling point in this first line-up of the band.

With all of this turbulence going on, it is hard to believe that the band could still sound so cohesive on this album that took the place of the planned studio album. What we ended up with was a 3 track album that includes the 3-part suite "Trilogy", an excellent showcase of just how talented the band was which features amazing solos from Goodman, Hammer and McLaughlin which becomes a wonderful fusion piece; "Sister Andrea", a more avant style of improvisation where the band proves they could still work well together; and the side-long "Dream" which is a progressive, instrumental delight. Everything about this album is five-star material, however, the sound quality is not up to that standard and ends up knocking this excellent performance down a star. However, this is still a worth-while album for progressive lovers to have anyway.

Unfortunately, this would also be the last album this line-up would put out. There was an unsuccessful attempt to bring the band back together, but it didn't work out, the band dissolved, and McLaughlin came back in 1974 with a brand-new line-up. At last, McLaughlin was able to recruit his first choice in violinists, Jean-Luc Ponty, who couldn't join the band originally because of some immigration issues. The band also increased in membership at this point, for their fourth album which would also include the London Symphony Orchestra.

The scrapped studio album featuring the first line-up would end up being released 30 years later (1999) and would be titled "The Lost Trident Sessions" which would feature the three tracks on this "Between Nothingness...." in their studio form along with the other three tracks intended for that album. McLaughlin felt that the lost studio album was much better than the live album that got released. However, this live album is quite amazing and still sounds excellent to this day, except for the less than perfect sound quality. Still, it is an excellent addition to your collection and is an album that I think most progressive fusion lovers would enjoy immensely.

TCat | 4/5 |


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