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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds Of Fire CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.33 | 1273 ratings

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5 stars How do you follow such a whopper of a debut album? By doing one a tad better.

I think the first two albums of Mahavishnu were responsible for more blowing out more speakers in home stereos than anything previously. Between Mahvishnu and Return to Forever, the improvisional fusion era that Miles began is in high gear. The Mahavishnu sound is distinct with the unique sound of of electric violin and guitar especially when playing in sync. This album seems to showcase the rest of the band more than the first.

Now for a quick take on the tracks.

Birds of Fire - A fast and furious opening that is one of the strongest pieces of the album. It really shows Cobham's drumming expertise.

Miles Beyond - Giving a nod to Miles's influence. It has a bluesy feel with nice chord structure tone by John with a slice of blistering fretwork in the end.

Celestial Terrestrial Commuters - Funky with some psychedlic keyboards by Jan Hammer.

Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love - This 24 seconds of noodling filler.

Thousand Island Park - Has more of traditional Jazz sound but electric with a Spanish flavor

Hope - A mild (not soft) winding up the scale of sorts, nice mix.

One Word - Here is where they feed off of one another in that true improvisional style. You can hear what makes John such a great guitarist other than his fast fret work, he perfectly fits those little memorable chord riffs in a supporting role, when he is not taking the lead, to complete the sound of the band. This also showcases Billy Cobham, which I believe (not 100% sure) this is the first time a double bass drum is being used in a solo effort.

Sanctuary - A haunting tune of Jerry Goodman's violin, along with guitar and keyboards in a typical Jazz scaling arrangement.

Open Country Joy - A nice melodic song where it gives you the feeling of riding in the country, but then they break into a furious bantering session off of one another (soon to become the staple of most Jazz fusion). Then you are suddenly back on the country road again. Great trip!

Resolution - A guitar chord style sound that seems to be driving to find a climatic crescendo that never quite finds it but keeps searching upward for it.

It would be easy to merge this and the first album as one, but I will give this one the edge as it helped defined the next phase of Fusion that Miles started. It gets a 5.

AEProgman | 5/5 |


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