I would say Birds of Fire rocks the hardest. One of the most influential jazz fusion albums of all time.
This reminds me of how I got into the Dixie Dregs years ago and reading interviews with Steve Morse and seeing the Dregs live. You could tell that they were heavily influenced by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. John McLaughlin has always been very disciplined and the compositional structures were complex but beautiful and fearsome at the same time!
But you say that Inner Mounting Flame rocks even harder? Now I'm going to have to re-listen to this one again.
They are both great but for personal reasons, Inner Mounting Flame. I was already a massive fan when it came out because of his earlier work with Miles which I love and it blew me away. IMF was a big step in his evolution while Birds Of Fire I think was more of an o credential change. I also dig the quiet soulful virtuosity of My Goal’s Beyond — especially his cover of Goodbye Porkpie Hat. Plus, what can you say about his work with Miles? Finally, on a personal note, I saw him on his tour with Carlos Santana in the mid-70’s. I was sitting in row 9, way too close to this massive tower of speakers — I think I lost 2% of my hearing that night — but it was worth it! (The matter is provably a heretical thing to admit on an audiophile site!)
I had to really think this one through. The Mahavishnu Orchestra sound is ALL refined power. Listen to the Dance of Maya again. Of course, it’s outrageously powerful, but note the structure that drives it. The time signatures. The counterpoint. Syncopation...
The truth is that I love nearly all of their stuff. It’s also true that I heard the Inner Mounting Flame album before any of the others, and that may bias my analysis.
Still, when I HAVE to hear some Mahavishnu, I almost always turn to Inner Mounting Flame first, just as I did all those years ago.
Well, I was going to just eavesdrop because " Mahavishnu fans only", but this short thread got me interested so I headed straight for Amazon Music. Since The Inner Mountain is supposedly their more raw album I figured I'd start with that. First off mind blown, never heard of these guys before and I was raised around a wide range of jazz and classical, among other types of music, and my tastes are all over the place, so I'm totally on board with this. Now the music is great but I'm on my desktop computer listening through Definitive Technology Inclines and this UltraHD Remastered version sounds incredible! I'm about to run downstairs to kick my wife off the rig in the living room but I will patiently wait until tomorrow to get some daytime listening in so I can crank it. I probably won't though, I'll most likely still put this on when she goes to bed (My 12-2:30am ritual listening session). I've been really amazed at the sound I've been getting since upgrading my DAC (Topping DX7-Pro) and I can't wait to see what this sounds like through it. Equipment upgrades aside, I'm actually excited to find out which one I prefer better. Rumor has it that my Moabs are "in the homestretch" and they are "worth waiting for", so this will probably get the first play when those arrive and are setup. I'm enjoying the music that much.
Well that was random and unexpected. Thanks?!? :)
Original Japanese LPs of both The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire sound better than anything else. I tried them all. For Visions Of The Emerald Beyond look for original US White Label Promo, it sounds better than original Japanese. Don't buy UK and other pressings.
John McLaughlin is a unique and legendary performer, but I don't like his later work.
Meetings of the Spirit and Dance of Maya are absolute classics.
tupuhumuhumunukunukuapuaa: if that's your real name.
You are wise to wait till your wife is out of earshot. Mahavishnu is a guy thing. Something about their music repels the womenfolk. Your mileage may vary.
Welcome aboard the Mahavishnu Express.
Flame and Birds are both masterworks but I heard Birds first....so that one resonates more for me.
However, side 1 of Visions of the Emerald Beyond is what I listen to the most.....the virtuosity of the band, coupled with McLaughlin's supernova musical personality, does it for me every time.
If I'd only heard him play I'd never guess, given a photo line-up of guitarists, that he was the one responsible for the notes blazing & tinkling & thundering out of the speakers!
But the subtle dreamy Earth Ship composition on side B of the Visions album is great too. I usually listen to the entire record, and do it quite often.
John created fusion electric guitar.
Also, listen to his acoustic guitar duos with Paco de Lucia and Jonas Hellborg and trio with Paco and Al di Meola. Concert in Freiburg, Germany, was I think the best live performance for the trio.
And I like most of his Que Alegria acoustic album.