The first two, "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds of Fire" are
by far my favorites. They are, I believe some of the best models of the intersection between Rock and Jazz. Phenomenal playing throughout.
Got to agree with Siliab. Also try The Lost Trident Sessions to hear studio versions of some of the tunes on the live album Between Nothingness and Eternity.
The original band consisted of John Mclaughlin, Jan Hammer (keyboards), Jerry Goodman (violin), Billy Cobham (drums) and Rick Laird (bass).
I think that Jan Hammer was a major contributor to the original Mahavishnu sound. You might check out Spectrum (with Billy Cobham and Jan Hammer) and Like Children (Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman) for some other examples of his work. Later he went commercial doing music for Miami Vice.
Tensions between McLaughlin and Hammer broke up the original band after The Lost Trident Sessions, and subsequent Mahavishnu albums lack the raw passion of the earlier ones.
John McLaughlin has had an eclectic career and has changed styles many times. Try Johnny McLaughlin Electric Guitarist as well.
I also love Alan Holdsworth, and you might check out some of his work (Velvet Darkness) for more mind bending fusion guitar.
Another vote for "Birds of Fire".
When I was a teenager "Visions of the emerald beyond" was one of my favorite records for acid trips. Now when I hear it I get a metallic taste in my mouth.
I am not a fusion fan, but I have a soft spot for McLaughlin's Shakti album "Handful of beauty". Sweet.
I agree with Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire. I got both of these as soon as they came out on CD and the recording quality was not the best. Does anyone know if there are higher quality versions of these out on CD?
Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire woke a lot of us up back then, and I ended up in music school in a fusion band in part as a result. It was great while it lasted...
So I second everybody else's view, and also agree with Ghostrider45 that you ought to check out Allan Holdsworth. I particulalry like his live CD All Night Wrong, which closely mirrors (in better sound) the live show I heard of his a couple of months ago in Houston. He can be truly breathtaking. Makes me glad I got out of the business...
Thanks for the response/info. Holdsworth I have listened to a bit though some time ago. Are there any newer bands that do the same type stuff? My collection has grown since I purchased a cd player back in early '82 or '83 along with a handful of longcase cd's which I still own (was military dependant overseas in High Sch)) It varies to the extreme (light jazz, Joni, Zappa, classic rock, pop, death metal) I like Tribal Tech, and virtioso prog rock bands like Dream Theater etc...? I just prefer the more talented fusion jazz/rock type bands the most.
You could try McLaughlin's 2008 release Floating Point. Fusion music recorded in India with Indian musicians.
There's also Chick Corea's fusion efforts, both solo and with Return To Forever and Elektric Band. His catalog is huge, but some personal faves are Romantic Warrior and My Spanish Heart.
I'm also a fan of Jean Luc Ponty's (electric violin) bands from the 70's and 80's. Try Aurora, Imaginary Voyage, Enigmatic Ocean, and Cosmic Messenger for starters.
Tribal Tech is good, but no one has ever reached the same peak as Mahavishnu.
Gammajo: Both Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire were remastered a few years ago and sound better. In addition Mofi issued Inner Mounting Flame on CD in 1999.
Hands down, Visions of the Emerald Beyond. Michael Walden replaced Billy Cobham on drums and Jean Luc Pony replaced Sugar Cane Harris on violin. Who would have thought that Billy Cobham was replaceble? Walden was spectacular on this record. Jean Luc Ponty? WOW! No need to say anymore, just Wow! First time I heard it I cried. That was 1974 and I was 17. Man I miss the 70's.
Miles Davis-Bitches Brew started me into Fusion
Going a little beyond Mahavishnu I would recommend the Tony Williams Lifetime's "Emergency", Miles Davis' "Jack Johnson", Larry Coryell's "Spaces", Miroslav Vitous' "Mountain In the Clouds" and McLaughlin's solo album "Devotion". All heavily feature McLaughlin's groundbreaking guitar work.
Heh, heh, Chashmal - metallic taste in your mouth! I know *exactly* what you're talking about. And I also concur on the Inner Mounting Flame recommendation. Man, those were the daze, dude!
Sony/Legacy did issue remastered versions of these titles a few years back. I can't comment on "Inner Mounting Flame" but the more recent CD issue of "Birds of Fire" does sound better than the previous one.
The Speakers Corner LP of "Inner Mounting Flame" certainly sounds better than the 1st issue CD.
As per usual, whenever the subject of Fusion (or just about any type of Jazz, come to think of it) comes up, everybody starts to take a walk down memory lane. I'm 55 yrs old, was fortunate enough to have seen original Mahavishnu and Return To Forever in small clubs in NY before they went 'stadium', and I STILL enjoy Fusion to this day. But as much as I dig the old stuff, there's NEW material that's really and truly, KILLA! I've done this before and it's usually ignored BUT, y'all can't say you ain't been told;) Here ya go, I'll give you specific recordings or just the artist/band.
Adam Holzman (Mile's last keyboard man) - Jazz Rocket Science
Alan Pasqua - The Antisocial Club
Dave Weckl Band
Dennis Chamber - Planet Earth
Greg Howe - Extraction
Karizma - Document
Simon Phillips - Out Of The Blue
SMV - Thunder
Truthfully there's SO much more but anyone that's serious about Fusion will enjoy the HELL outta this short list.
Chazro...Thank you. I'll check some of this out for sure. Man mahavishnu/Corea in small clubs...whew, man! Pass the 40 mark myself and have some Weckyl cd's and Ponty. ? about the Cab2, Cab 4...is that the name of the band or Pasqua titles??
One not mentioned within the genre that is an all-time great along with my Vishnu's seminal recordings is:
Joy Of Flying--Tony Williams
More Jazz fusion in the vein of Weather Report than 'Vishnu, and It may be hard to find, but WOW what a combination of all-stars, each bringing their own piece of music, and Williams was at his peak.
The album features Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancocock, Cecil Taylor, George Benson, Tom Scott, Jan Hammer, Ronnie Montrose, Randy Brecker, David Sanborn etc. It was a can't miss album because it brought so many different styles together. Williams is *spectacular* in this, and Tom Scott and Benson were never in better form on Lyricon and Guitar respectively, on "Hittin On Six" and "Hip Skip" where Benson absolutely cuts loose--worth the price alone. Those that think of Benson as a lame pop vocalist should hear him play guitar on this and some other great jazz/fusion albums..
Re: CAB - Coincidentally I rec'd notice today of a new Cab recording. If I got this right, Cab released 1, 2, NO(?)3, & 4. The lineup is Bunny Brunel (bassist extraordinaire!), Tony MacAlpine - gtr, Dennis Chambers, Brian Auger - Organ, & Patrice Rushen - kybd. What a band!! I think Cab 4 should be considered a modern day Fusion classic, really smokin'! Today I got word that Chambers has been replaced with drum titan Virgil Donati. Check abstractlogix.com, you'll be floored by the amount of music you'll find. Sorry about the confusion, it's Alan Pasqua that released the Anti-Social Club.
Awesome. Macalpine...Chambers...jeez. I know that smokes without hearing it. Own some older mcalpine on cassette from way back :\ Thanks for the 'shortlist' and reference. Cheers, mnnc
Chazro...Cab...I read that Cab 4 is really their 3rd release. Some sort of musician joke on their part. According to Azon... Self titled, Cab 2, and now Cab 4. I can't find a third release.
Upon further reading...the 3rd release (Cab 3) is a double live from Potato Factory in Cali...I'm going to investigate further. In the meantime...I have some shoppin' to do.
I just can't quit...Check out Bunny Brunel dot com...New Cab Album!
Ghostrider and roblanger - thank you for the feedback on CD quality. The music is worth a re-buy on a better recording. I will give the remaster's a listen
"Chazro...Cab...I read that Cab 4 is really their 3rd release. Some sort of musician joke on their part. According to Azon... Self titled, Cab 2, and now Cab 4. I can't find a third release."
That's why I wrote "NO 3" originally, as in, there was no #3. Sorry for the confusion. Cool to see your interest in Cab. You say you found out about the new Cab on Bunny's site. My last post starts off referring to the new one...? don't matter!!! Just in case you missed my rec, I strongly advise you to check abstractlogix.com. You can hear clips from the new one!
BTW - While you're feelin' the fever, I'd also strongly recommend 'Jing Chi'- 3D. Their 3rd release is very very strong. The band's made up of Robben Ford - gtr, Jimmy Haslip - Bass, and Vinnie Colauita - drums. With occasional guests sprinkled here and there, these guys give new meaning to the term 'Power Trio"!
Chazro...you are badass...I checked out the site...nice...so many bands I have never heard of. Any more recommendations are welcome welcome particularly when the music verges on heavier rock side and/or funk vs blues.
Chazro, great recommendations - thanks! Saw CAB in Chicago a few years back and they smoked! It was Brunel, Donati, and McAlpine all in fine form. Good to know fusion is still alive.
You have to check out "Jean Luc Ponty, Stanley Clark and Al Dimeola Live at Montreaux", simply sick the way these three guys jam together...Great audio/video to boot....
Was listening to Chic Corea's Elektric Band on the way to work this morning. The GRP recording is amazing...
"Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal"!!!!!
My favourite heavy Fusion album is On The Virg Serious Young Insects Its has a more modern approach but it has some serious playing on it.
If anyone interested I can list lots more modern fusion that might be worth a try
Here's a tip...when you find something you're interested in, do yourself a favor and chk ebay & azon before buying, I've saved quite a bit by doing this. Obviously, this doesn't pertain ONLY to Fusion!;) F'instance, I bet you could find Cab 4 & Jing Chi - 3d on the cheap over there, couldn't hurt to try!!
Been at the bay for some years now...saved a bunch. Pawn shops have bee. Good for my collection as well.
Purchased Cab 4...now that's what I'm talking about. Just my liking. Thanks a bunch.
Another solid Fusion website is Audiophileimports.com.(AI) Checked 'em out yesterday and saw the new Live Return To Forever for sale as well as the new Corea/McLaughlin Live! Sometimes AbstractLogix AND AI offer exclusive releases, for instance, for some crazy reason Billy Cobham's latest release is available ONLY at AI for $30+ bucks! I'm a big fan but in this day and age to charge that much for a CD is simply arrogant!
I just checked those sites...nice. Side note: agree that $30 plus shpng for a cd is verging on unlawful. Perhaps a private seller that has oop/very htf items that private buyers are willing to spend for, I can understand. I just stopped by my trusty thrift store and raked up 4 Coltrain cd's that are minty. Added two more titles (Annie Lennox and a Bela Fleck) to the stack so as to meet the 3 for $5 price...thank you very much.