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Mahavishnu Orchestra

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Mahavishnu Orchestra The Lost Trident Sessions album cover
4.21 | 242 ratings | 18 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dream (11:06)
2. Trilogy (9:30)
- a. The Sunlit Path
- b. La Mère De La Mer
- c. Tomorrow's Story Not The Same
3. Sister Andrea (6:43)
4. I Wonder (3:07)
5. Stepping Stone (3:09)
6. John's Song (5:54)

Total Time: 39:45

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / 6- & 12-string electric guitars, acoustic guitar,
- Jan Hammer / electric piano, synthesizer
- Jerry Goodman / electric violin, viola, violow (custom viola with cello strings)
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums

Releases information

Recorded at Trident Studios in London, 25-29 June 1973, for the band's meant to be 3rd album;
"lost" tapes until 1998, and previously unreleased (although the compositions were recorded Live)

Artwork: James L. Hunter with Howard Fritzson (art direction)

CD Columbia - CK 65959 (1999, US) 20-bit (re)mastering by Mark Wilder
CD SME Records - SRCS 2132 (1999, Japan)
CD Columbia - SMM 504684 2 (2001, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Lost Trident Sessions ratings distribution

(242 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Lost Trident Sessions reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars This is the album by which we hold the end of MO's first line-up's end. Indeed, recorded just like the previous two albums in a rush (four days in late June 73), Hammer and Goodman opposed to its release, this time being helped by Laird, usually not choosing sides between the two camps, while McLaughlin and Cobham wanted to release it as such. So for once, Mc had not his way in his project, which was a first, another being that three tracks of this album are not from him. Indeed the other three come from the rebellious camp. Those having seen MO in concert always noticed that this was John's ship and he was alone boss on it, which in the long run was not a good idea. A mistake he would repeat with the MkII line-up as can be evidenced on the Montreux Performance. Anyway, Columbia finally stumbled on the tapes (that had migrated from London to LA) and released the album with the group's (full, I think) consent, and what a brilliant idea it was, but I just wish they would've given, it a more project-type of artwork instead on this relatively cheap photo montage.

Starting on the gigantic epic track called Dreams, the album quickly lets you climb aboard the spaceship returning to 73, so much easier so that the track exists inan extended version of the live BNaE album. It would be pointless to start picking the differences here, but I like the studio better, due to better recording conditions. The following Trilogy is also a track that has graced the Live 73 album, and here we get in full force with a much-needed conciseness, quality lacking in the live album.

Among the new tracks heard for the first time is the particularly superb Goodman-penned I Wonder, which has a slight déjà-entendu descending riff, but the track is so very lovingly enamouring that it could last twice its length. The Rick Laird-penned Steppings Tones is an ascending riff being worked upon to great affects, but like Goodman's composition, it's fairly repetitive. But most interesting is the Hammer-penned Sister Andrea, a very accomplished track that concentrates not only one Hammer's keyboard work, but allows a full spectrum of the group's possibilities. Most likely Hammer's Czech origins made him most likely to pull some Stravinsky-like songs that John Wanted for MO, and Sister Andrea is this album's highlight. Closing up the album is a fantastic version of John's Song #2, and shows the unbelievable power this group had and the mastery in their restraint from exploding their powers all over the sonic spectrum, Goodman's violin again underlining magnificently the rhythm section, yet allowing itself all the space to expand. Clearly the group was still quite together back then even if a spat between John and the rest of the group (with Cob abstaining, thinking of his own album to come Spectrum) about writing credits has etched the varnish.

A posthumous album that I wouldn't file anywhere else but sandwiched between BoF and BNaE, LTS is a pure gem that every MO fan simply must have. Just as difficult not to give it a full rating as with its shelf neighbours

Review by loserboy
4 stars Originally only thought to exist "The Lost Trident Sessions" represent the 3rd masterpiece album which unfortunately was lost and hidden in the Columbia Records vaults for over 25 years. Bootleggers had inferior sounding copies in circulation floating about costing loads of money and being hailed as Jazz's holy grail. Finally the tapes have re-surfaced and have been incredibly re-mastered sounding fresh and very clean. MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA were perhaps the best fusion band of the seventies led by John McLaughlin (guitarist) , Jan Hammer (keys), Billy Cobham (drums) , Jerry Goodman (violins) and Rick Laird (bass). Like the music found on their first 2 albums, "The Lost Trident Sessions" is as intense with the same complexity of instrumentation carrying that unmistakable MAHAV flare. Their music is ever shifting and probably more harmonically sophisticated than anything else that came out at the time and contains an instrumental virtuosity and expressiveness that musicians still aspire to today. How the hell this album never got released is beyond me... according to the liner notes, the band were at sorts with each other and never agreed enough at that time on the material to warrant apparently the 3rd release. For my tastes, the best fusion group to ever exist and "The Lost Trident Sessions" is an essential piece of history even if it is 25 years too late.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars In '72 MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA stunned the world with the very exciting and innovative album "Birds Of Fire". The sound was a fusion of mainly jazz and rock but also some blues. The most remarkable facts on this album were the amazing interplay between the guitar (John McLaughlin), keyboards (Jan Hammer) and violin (Jerry Goodman) and the inventive, dynamic and powerful rhythm-section (Rick Laird and Billy Cobham). Due to a very intense touting schedule the band was frequently hit by increasing (inter)personal problems and a few months after the live album "Between Nothingness & Eternity" ('73) MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA disbanded after a farewell concert in the USA end December '73. In the late Nineties people from Columbia Records discovered tapes with sessions recordings from MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA in the UK that should have been the third album from the line up: Cobham, Laird, McLaughlin, Hammer & Goodman.

In '99 Columbia released these tapes as a CD entitled "The Lost Trident Sessions". Well, all six compositions sound sensational: sparkling Fender Rhodes piano, dazzling Minimoog runs and spectacular violin/electric guitar/electric piano interplay in "Dream", a powerful break with sensational Minimoog and distorted violin solos in "Trilogy", howling and biting electric guitar and 'pitch bend-drenched' Minimoog play in "Sister Andrea", exciting solos and interplay from guitar/violin/Minimoog in "I Wonder", strong interplay between Fender Rhodes piano and violin in "Stepping Tones" and howling and biting electric guitar, powerful drums, dazzling Minimoog flights and spectacular violin play in "John's Song". It's not very emotional music but these virtuosy, creative and innovative guys succeeded to keep your attention for the full 40 minutes. Splendid!

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite an amazing album this one ... it was on course to be The Mahavishnu Orchestra's third studio album, but then half the tracks (Dream, Trilogy and Sister Andrea) were released in extended versions on the live Between Nothingness And Eternity and the studio album got shelved as the classic incarnation of this group imploded. Some 26 years after this album was recorded it was released at The Lost Trident Sessions, and I'll be damned if it isn't just as good as Birds Of Fire. That's right, as good as Mahavishnu were, I think they were getting better and better as they got on, and this album is ultimate proof.

The opener Dream is simply awesome. It has a contemplative acoustic guitar intro with Jerry Goodman's violin joining in the fun after a while. Around about the 3 minute mark, band takes off on the back of one of Jan Hammer's best solos ever. His lyrical jazzy electric piano then leads into one of those explosive rapid fire soloing over heavy rock backing that Mahavishnu patented, but it's done with a better balance than most of the Inner Mounting Flames tracks, and by 5 minutes John McLaughlin is riffing away in a manner that Tony Iommi would have been proud of while Goodman laws down the law.

The three part (is that redundant?) Trilogy is another amazing piece. The Sunlit Parth begins with McLaughlin's guitar seducing his listener, while Hammer throws in some ascending lead lines, before a wonderful exchange of lines between the two ensues (McLaughlin's classical Indian lines here foreshadowing his eventual forming of Shakti). It then switches rather abruptly to the sounds of the sea for the second part La Mere De La Mer which has a laid-back vibe with Goodman shining once again. The concluding part Tommorow's Story Not The Same is one of Mahavishnu's best hard rockers ever with the effervescent drummer Billy Cobham doing what he does best! Towards the end McLaughlin's opening seductive guitar returns to great effect.

Sister Andrea is a multi-dimensional masterpiece that starts off with potent barely reined-in Mahavishnu style funk that then breaks down into a great pseudo-psychedelic break (although I must say that McLaughlin's guitar screeches when I wish it wouldn't) there's also a another heavier wah-wah filled funk bit before a nice little proggy riff takes the piece home.

I Wonder is beautiful, simply beautiful. It reminds me a bit of the first album's You Know You Know in the sense that there is a simple haunting bassline that underpins the whole song. Here the layering is heavenly, although I think Hammer's Moog seriously outclasses McLaughlin's guitar. Stepping Tones is similar in style, except that it's ominous where I Wonder was beautiful. I love the way Goodman and Hammer blend with each other on this one. The closer John's Song #2 is perhaps a little too similar to other Mahavishnu jams for my tastes, but this is still one whopping album, perhaps the greatest "lost studio album" of all time. ... 88% on the MPV scale

Review by Philo
4 stars With the music as intense as it was and with five incredible talented and extraordinary musicians combined together to create the passion and complexity in the music they created something had to give. And so in the summer of 1973 the awesome power that was the McLaughlin/Cobham/Laird/Hammer/Goodman inspired Mahavishnu Orchestra erupted, fragmented and ultimately broke up. McLaughlin regrouped under the Mahavishnu Orchestra name but even he must have known that there was no way that anyone one else combined under that moniker could reach the tidal wave of intensity that was the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. And while the new 'Vishnu carried on under different guises this, what would have been the third MO release proper, lay hidden away in vault in a CBS studio somewhere for almost twenty five years, which sounds almost unbelievable and the stuff that dreams are made of.

Again it sees Mahavishnu Orchestra progressing further and although the album has it critics it showed how far they could go musically and for me the album goes well beyond the boundaries or perhaps realms of fusion and the music is almost completely new to my ears and like the Hubble Telescope reaching out into space for new discoveries, so too this album saw the 'Vishnu expanding their horizons and stretching the limits to the maximum and The Lost Trident Sessions is the music of a dream world. It has to be acknowledged that these five guys put out three albums (including this one) and to go this far in the space of a couple of years is simply phenomenal, and though the album is slightly uneven and rather unfinished as the band never fully developed the music it is a testimony of skill and emotional, raw anger juxtaposed together in the five separate beings combining to form one and exploding in the process. This album should not be under estimated.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An entire studio album was lost for more than 25 years! Follow up to "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds of Fire". Great liner notes and photos, 20-bit Digitally Remastered.

Well, that's exactly printed at the jewel case of my CD. This might be a marketing gimmick from the label. But deep in my mind I ask myself, how come the band did not realize it during the period of this album that they recorded something already?

While this mythic scenario may be fun to fantasize about - a kind of musicologist's take on Indiana Jones And The Lost Ark - it actually happened to producer Bob Belden. In November 1998, while in the midst of gathering up tapes for Sony Legacy remastering and reissue of the Mahavishnu triumphant 1972 release of Birds of Fire, Belden came across two extra unmarked quarter-inch tapes that had been lying in Columbia's Los Angeles vault. These mysterious tapes indicated that they had been recorded in London but no other information was provided. After a bit of sleuthing, Belden realized he had stumbled upon a major find. These were in fact two-track mixes of The Lost Trident Sessions, what was to have been the Mahavishnu Orchestra's third studio album for Columbia Records. [excerpts from CD liner notes]

When I got the "Between Nothingness and Eternity" (live) cassette at the time I was wondering each track performed in this live album was taken from which albums? I could not find it and finally I concluded that this is something like Rick Wakeman's "Journey To The Center of The Earth" where it was recorded live with real audience surrounding the musicians. But with the release of "The Lost Trident Sessions", I know now that this was supposed to be released before the "Between Nothingness and Eternity" was released so the crowd was aware on songs they performed.

The songs presented in this album, three of them were performed and presented at the "Between Nothingness and Eternity" live album, namely: "Dream", "Trilogy", and "Sister Andrea". All of these three tracks are great track at studio as well as live. "Dream" is recorded at studio with shorter duration (11 minutes) while during live version was 21 minutes duration. But it's still a great one.

"I wonder" is a great track in medium tempo, featuring John McLaughlin's stunning guitar solo, augmented with keyboard and violin. There is powerful drumming by Billy Cobham as well. "Stepping Tones" is a slow tempo track featuring Jerry Goodman's violin solo. "John's Song" closes the album in jazzy style with John and Jerry improvisations.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Jazz Rock Fusion aficionados, for too long the underdogs in the culture kennel, had reason to cheer in 1999. Not only did a long-lost recording by John McLaughlin's first MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA (a group held to be one of the founding fathers of the now much-maligned genre) suddenly re-surface after languishing in the studio vaults for 25 years, but the music turned out to be no less fresh and invigorating than the band's first two acclaimed albums, "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds of Fire".

At the time it would likely have been the last recorded effort of the original band: a dynamic outfit with too many personal and professional conflicts to survive over the long run. In a burst of incandescent creativity typical of their entire (too short) career, the Mahavishnus set down the basic tracks, more or less live in the studio, before circumstances led them to abandon the tapes and go their separate ways.

Fast forward a quarter of a century, when the forgotten album was resurrected and finally released in all its undoctored glory. Talk about a blast from the past: in an age of diminished aspirations these tapes provide a thrilling reminder of a time when music was something more than just another arm of the corporate entertainment octopus.

Of course it doesn't actually represent the intended album. It's easy to hear the spots where overdubbing might have been applied, but the lack of any final polish gives the music a stronger sense of immediacy and raw vitality. The 11-minute album opener "Dream" sets the bar, beginning in an acoustic, contemplative mood before shifting gears upward into an absolutely torrid jam. And Part II of the likewise McLaughlin-penned "Trilogy" features some of the guitarist's most overtly Rock-based playing since the "Jack Johnson" sessions with Miles Davis three years earlier.

A few shorter numbers authored by McLaughlin's disgruntled bandmates (who for some time had been lobbying for more compositional input) fill out the album, which concludes, as did the group itself, in a rush of nervous tension during the lamely-titled but compelling curtain closer, "John's Song".

It's a pity the original band couldn't have patched up their creative differences for the sake of such superlative music. But the brevity of their time together is part of what makes the music so valuable, and like any other rare gem this album is all the more precious for having been lost for so many years.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars How could an album as great as this sit in a vault for 25 years before being released ? Well let me tell you.This information is from the liner notes. The band had actually completed this album in June of 1973 but it wasn't released right away because some felt there should be some additional overdubs and maybe a string section here and there. So while this stalemate was going on the record remained in limbo. Meanwhile "Columbia" executives were chomping at the bit for another release because of the success of "Birds Of Fire". Unable to deliver the third album right away the band decided to give them a live record ("Between Nothingness & Eternity") which would feature three tracks from this yet unreleased third recording. "With the live album released and another studio album in the can, the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA continued to tour relentlessly.Their itinerary was exhausting-six weeks of continuous one nighters. It was emotionally, physically, and spiritually brutal, which only added stress to the group's already fragile dynamic". They didn't even have time to rehearse during this period.The other huge issue was that John McLaughlin wasn't giving the other band members official credit for helping him with his compositions. In fact for this third album Laird, Goodman and Hammer all demanded that they each have one of their songs on this record. John relented. Cobham wasn't comfortable writing for the band because he wrote music much differently then John and he felt it would have been painful to have a song of his rejected. Besides he had his solo project at that time to channel his compositional skills, "Spectrum" was released that same year(1973). The straw that broke the camel's back was a magazine article which first interviewed John then the others.The others used this platform to vent against John, and when McLaughlin read the "proof" he was both hurt and betrayed at what his band mates said.They decided to breakup officially by the end of 1973. In fact they played their last concert December 31st 1973. They each went off in different directions and soon that unreleased album was yesterdays news and forgotten. The people who had been with "Columbia Records" at that time were gone and the album was left to sit.

That is until "November of 1998 when producer Bob Belden while in the midst of gathering up tapes for a Sony remastering and reissue of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA's triumphant 1972 release "Birds Of Fire", Belden came across two extra unmarked quarter-inch tapes that had been lying in Columbia's Los Angeles vault. These mysterious tapes indicated they had been recorded in London but no other information was provided. Belden realized he had stumbled upon a major find.These were in fact the two-track mixes of "The Lost Trident Sessions"". I should mention that McLaughlin says he was very happy with this album. I completely agree with Sean Trane's assessment of this album. For me this is as good as the first two albums, in fact I like it better than their debut. I wish the cover art was different though because you get the impression this is a live album which of course it's not.That's my only complaint.

"Dream" is a McLaughlin composition and the longest track on here at over 11 minutes. I like the atmosphere to open.Things change quickly 2 1/2 minutes in as it builds and the tempo picks up. A full sound a minute later.These contrasts continue. Check out Goodman ripping it up after 5 minutes then McLaughlin does the same after 7 minutes. "Trilogy" is another McLaughlin tune at 9 1/2 minutes. Gentle guitar to open as cymbals and drums come in. Violin follows. I love listening to Cobham drum. Listen to Hammer and McLaughlin trade off. A calm follows after 2 minutes as birds sing and wind blows. Violin comes in a minute later with guitar and keys. It turns mellow after 4 1/2 minutes and the birds are singing again. It kicks back in after 5 minutes as McLaughlin lights it up and Goodman adds to the fire. I'm laughing 7 minutes in because these guys are insane ! Very intense. Check out Cobham !

"Sister Andrea" is Hammer's song. It's kind of funky with prominant keys. A calm after a minute as violin comes in. John follows and takes over. Not worthy ! Back to the funk before 3 minutes.Themes are repeated. "I Wonder" is Goodman's tune. It's relaxed and mellow to start until McLaughlin makes his guitar fly and then Cobham takes over before 2 minutes. McLaughlin ends it. Incredible ! "Steppings Tones" is Laird's composition. Keys, bass and intricate drum patterns before violin takes the lead. It's building. Billy is so impressive. "John's Song #2" opens with sounds coming and going although drums are constant. McLaughlin breaks in at 2 minutes and steals the show. Goodman before 4 1/2 minutes. McLaughlin's back a minute later with a blistering attack. An unbelieveable track.

For me this is flawless and on a par with "Birds Of Fire". Sorry for the long review I just thought the background about this lost album was important.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars More then 20 years after its recording, this lost MO album finally surfaced. These sessions were supposed to be the third MO album of the first MO line-up. When I first stumbled across this album in the library, I literally rushed home from sheer excitement. Could this be possible be as good as the liner notes said? Or was that merely cheap PR talk to sell inferior demo tapes to the unexpected listener?

Rest assured, this is a revelation! This album blows away of the known albums from this line-up, regardless how amazing those were.

Most of the music might be familiar from the Between Nothingness & Eternity live album but the tracks are much better here, not only because of the perfect sound but also because of the unbelievably tight musicianship. The Orchestra had been playing together for 3 years and they rage through the material with dazzling speed and focus. But it isn't empty musicianship meant to impress with skill and tricks. This album breathes passion and inspiration, and the musicians play with unheard emotion and dynamics.

Also the shorter tracks are interesting. John McLaughnin allowed each of the musicians to compose their own pieces, and apart from drummer Billy Cobham everybody rose to the challenge. Jan Hammer's Sister Andrea is well known and one of the more upbeat compositions here, really cool and groovy. Fiddler Jerry Goodman wrote I Wonder, a track that offers a soft but really stirring jazz progression on picked violin with gorgeous spacey soloing. Rick Laird contributed with Stepping Stones, a more relaxed and dreamy track, at least till it builds up tension along the way. These individual contributions make the album more diverse but certainly not less consistent. Each track is equally inspired and essential.

This album is without doubt the creative endpoint of the original MO line-up and everyone who loved the 2 first studio albums shouldn't hesitate a second. My MO favourite.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Lost Trident Sessions is a real treat for fusion fans - the long-lost third album from the band's legendary original lineup, officially released after sitting in the vaults for 25 years. This time around John McLaughlin doesn't dominate the songwriting to the same extent as he did on the first two albums, with each of the other members except Billy Cobham contributing a composition of their own. (Billy, of course, had recorded his solo album Spectrum mere weeks previously, and so had already found an outlet for most of his compositions there.)

The album leans closer to rock than the first two classic Mahavishnu albums, and has a tranquil, spacey atmosphere which lacks much in the way of the furiously fast playing of those discs. It's a mild departure for the Orchestra, but an intriguing one, and although the album was never finished it's clear that just a little more polish would have yielded a third essential fusion classic. But the skilled playing masks the discontent and personality clashes in the band that had already begun coming out by this point - to the extent that apparently some of the participants weren't even talking to each other - and the lineup would disintegrate before the album was completed, leaving McLaughlin to construct an entirely new lineup and release the live album Between Nothingness and Eternity - which consists of extended versions of the first three tracks from these sessions - instead of this one.

On balance, I wouldn't say this album is quite as essential to fusion listeners as the first two. It certainly wasn't as influential - how could it have been when it wasn't released? - and the new material, whilst good, still needs polish to come up to the standards of The Inner Mounting Flame or Birds of Fire. Still, anyone who's listened to those albums should regard this disc as the vital next step in any exploration of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's output.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sometime in 1973 comes the end of Mahavishnu's Orchestra original line-up.Despite two highly-acclaimed Fusion masterpieces, the relationship between the members was in crisis and the cohesion of the core was doubtful due to the endless lives and exhausting tours.The top of the cake comes via an interview of Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, expressing their frustration on McLaughlin's leadership.Even so the band had already worked on the recordings of a third album, which was never released, apparently they were so close to call it quit that their label thought releasing an album of a dissolved act was not a particularly good idea.Although some of tracks were included in the solo albums of Jerry Goodman and Jan Hammer or the 73' live album ''Between nothingness & eternity'', the complete sessions were released on Columbia in 1999 as ''The lost Trident sessions''.

And yes, it would be a crime if this work never saw the light of day, because this third effort by Mahavishnu Orchestra's original formation was absolutely great, it even sounds greater than ''Birds of fire'', and offers a powerful, furious and intricate Jazz Fusion few bands could actually play with much success.Moreover this is actually the rockier and most dynamic of all Mahavishnu Orchestra early albums, presenting John McLaughlin in a blistering mood for fiery solos and Jerry Goodman setting his violin on fire.The band was going through weird circumstances during the time, but the last thing I feel listening to this album is problems between the band members.What I feel is that these personal frustrations were expressed here through attacking compositions, featuring endless alternations between virtuosic solos and emphatic interplays and some impressive individual performances with dynamic intensity and accurate playing.You will be blown away after meeting with McLaughlin's sharp and mascular guitar parts and I find Goodman being in his best form ever with his tireless violin solos dominating the scene.The rhythm section is flawless and Hammer provides some beautiful work on electric piano and synthesizers.The album features also some bits of Funk, but you should actually focus on the two long opening tracks, you won't believe that Mahavishnu Orchestra had so much gasoline left in the tank and just go sad about this line-up fading away so soon.

This is the excellence of Jazz meeting Prog Rock, taped around 1973 by a group of super-talented guys.It's not as monumental as ''The inner mounting flame'', but its undisputed energy level and the frenetic instrumental parts are absolutely majestic.Highly recommended.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Sometimes great things have to be waited for, but 26 years? Geez. Well, that was the case for the highly anticipated third installment of the original MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA which due to squabbles among band members decided to scrap a third album altogether and pull a sneaky move and release a live album in its stead. The MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, initiated by former Miles Davis guitarist John McLaughlin came out of nowhere in 1971 with its sudden rise with its lauded debut "The Inner Mounting Flame" and followed two years later with the equally mind-blowing "Birds Of Fire" both of which catapulted the world of jazz-rock-fusion to unthinkable complexities without sacrificing the emotive connections that make music so riveting.

Graced by five extremely dexterous musicians, the first lineup of MAHAVISHNU ORCHSTRA featured John McLaughlin on guitar god duty, newbie keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman, bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Cobham, all musical gods in their own right, who together crafted one of the most spectacular chemistries in the rock lexicon unleashing fiery energetic performances with blitzkrieg technical precision that immediately caught the world's attention and has become forever the standards for excellence in the world of progressive rock and jazz-fusion. However well these guys gelled on stage though, egos and personalities clashed behind the scenes and after a mere two studio albums and a live album being dropped in lieu of a third, the band's three year existence ended on December 31, 1973 with a final performance at the Sport Arena in Toledo, Ohio.

While John McLaughlin would reinvent his project by hiring a whole new cast of players, nothing that came after could match the jaw dropping musical majesty performed by the first lineup so it was a crying shame that a third album never emerged due to the petty disagreements about the minutia such as proper overdubs and other recoding trivialities. Fast forward 25 years when producer Bob Belden went looking for the original tapes of "Birds Of Fire" for a much needed remastering but in the process struck gold by discovering a group of unlabeled tapes that only indicated they were recorded in June 1973 at Trident Studios in London. It turned out that this lucky find was indeed the compositions intended to be the MAHAVISHNU's original third album that found the inferior live release "Between Nothingness and Eternity" taking its place. Jackpot!

After a 26 year delay THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS finally emerged from the vaults on 21 September 1999 just squeaking in before the hilarious Y2K scare! Despite the mystery around these delayed compositions, almost all of the material had been released in different forms with the only exception being "John's Song." The three tracks "Dream," "Trilogy" and "Sister Andrea" all appeared on the 1973 live album "Between Nothingness and Eternity" and the two tracks "I Wonder" and "Stepping Tones" were included on Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer's collaborative album "Like Children" which came out the year after their departure. Despite most of these tracks having been released in one form or another, the fact was that THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS was and is superior in almost every regard as the compositions display a fully oiled machine from a group of seasoned veterans who had reached a musical perfection due to their incessant live performances for almost two years straight.

The material on THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS also displays a turning point for the MAHAVISHNUs in that McLaughlin eased his tyrannical rule over the creative content and allowed band members to contribute in the writing process. Jan Hammer wrote "Sister Andrea" and "Stepping Stones" was by crafted by Rick Laird. Jerry Goodman contributed "I Wonder" which left only Billy Cobham as the odd man out who took the sensible approach and released his material as a solo artist where he found a very successful run of albums after the demise of the original band lineup. His debut "Spectrum" is as revered as the the first two MAHAVISHNU albums in many circles.

While 26 years behind schedule, THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS is every bit as essential as the first two installments of the MAHAVISHNU canon and showcases a band that was hitting a new peak in creative content with an uncanny tight-knit cohesiveness of jagged jazz fueled hyper rock that featured those classic soloing tradeoffs as well as atonal angularities run amok. The six tracks on these LOST SESSIONS were in every way a step up from the two antecedents that launched the band into the limelight. Added to the excellent dexterity present on this blistering masterpieces of jazz-rock-fusion was a welcome upgraded production with a warm organic remastering that majorly improved the tracks off the tinny badly produced live album. While the Goodman and Laird tracks may have been criticized for being too "catchy" they actually add a nice respite from the turbulent virtuosity otherwise ubiquitous on this collection of buried treasures.

In the end, THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS offered a sense of resolution to the missing chapter in the MAHAVISHNU's tumultuous first rendition and offered the prog revival that was taking place in the 90s a new treasure trove of lost classics for those who hadn't quite done their homework of all the 70s had to offer. This album serves as a reminder of how easily such maestrohood masterpieces can literally become lost in the annals of time and of how the MAHAVISNUs were upping their game exponentially from the brutal touring schedule which only served to bolster the Promethean fire which fueled their visionary inner journeys through the sounds of jazz, rock and myriad world genres. It's a true shame when petty human egos that jive so well together otherwise implode when together we are all so much stronger than alone but in the case of the MAHAVISHNUs, just like the fate of Icarus, perhaps they raced oo close and too quickly near the sun thus melting their wings and resulting in the ultimate implosion of one of rock music's greatest lineups. In the end we can only be thankful for the two albums that were released in the 70s and this long overdue masterpiece that was excavated from dark dusty bowels of forgotten record label storage rooms.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I need not go into the extended history of how the original tapes were misplaced, forgotten, and now unearthed for this long overdue CD release. What seemed to happen was simply a busy band with internal struggles made a session tape and opted to release a live version instead. Some songs neve ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581927) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Interesting album, terrible cover-artwork. Who made this? Most Mahavishnu-albums (especially from this period) were beautifully painted by Ashok Chris Poisson. This looks like something of a very cheap discount-cd with some best-of tracks on it. Pity, but probably it's the least essential part o ... (read more)

Report this review (#88121) | Posted by ProgRob | Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Lost Trident Sessions were not really lost. They were just sitting there until somebody cared enough to unleash them. Mahavishnu fans have long hoped for their arrival. I'd like to say that the recording is not good and that they broke up at the right time. But this recording is a brill ... (read more)

Report this review (#65878) | Posted by | Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The "lost" album from the Mahavishnu Orchestra although if you're familiar with the live album "Between Nothingness & Eternity" then you'll have already heard versions of Dream, Trilogy, and Sister Andrea, and its these that are the meat of this album. I prefer the versions on this "sessions" al ... (read more)

Report this review (#42026) | Posted by Phil | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In the early nineties John McLaughlin tried to re-activate the original Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup but the problem remained with Jan Hammer who was the principal contester over writing credits. This was one main factor leading to the break-up of the initial lineup of this over talented band. ... (read more)

Report this review (#22527) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Sunday, November 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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