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Mahavishnu Orchestra


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New York, United States (1970 – 1976, 1984 – 1987)

The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a jazz-rock fusion group from New York, United States, that debuted in 1970 and dissolved in 1976, reuniting briefly from 1984 to 1987.

In its first version, the band was led by “Mahavishnu” John McLaughlin on acoustic and electric guitars, with Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on electric and acoustic bass, Jan Hammer on electric and acoustic piano, and Jerry Goodman on violin. The group is best known for their two most popular albums: The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) and Birds Of Fire (1973).

From 1974 to 1976, personnel included Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, Narada Michael Walden on drums and vocals, Gayle Moran on vocals and keyboards, and Ralph Armstrong on bass, among others. This second incarnation of the group explored orchestral arrangements, as well as more mainstream funk and R&B grooves added to the mix.

This group was considered an important pioneer in the jazz fusion movement that was founded by Miles Davis. McLaughlin and Cobham met while performing and recording with Davis. McLaughlin was also influenced in his conception of the band by his studies with Indian guru Sri Chinmoy, who encouraged him to take the name “Mahavishnu”.

McLaughlin had particular ideas for the instrumentation of the group, in keeping with his highly original concept of genre-blending in composition. He particularly wanted a violinist. As the group evolved, McLaughlin adopted what became his trademark double-neck guitar (six-string and twelve-string), and Hammer added a Moog synthesiser, which enabled him to bend notes, mimicking the phrasing of McLaughlin’s guitar.


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  • NeilTheRockGuru

    This aint just a land mark album.. Its a freakin meteor that struck a planet and shook the entire earth and changed the landscape. Groundbreaking, breathtaking,aweinspiring,overwhelming and so on whatever u can think of this album is trailblazing.. even moreso than other contemporary miles's landmark jazzfusion albums such as bitches brew and in a silent way. John was a major contributor in those albums which two virtuosos feeding off each others geniusness and created something thats is gut wrenching yet so beautiful at the same time. Im glad to have waited for so long to revisit this album.. Couldnt amaze me more. And talk about the man himself John mclaughlin.such a humble guy.. Meeting him in person was an absolute delight and kudos to him for still engaging with the fans like he does. A true gentleman

    22 Jun 3:19am Reply
  • NeilTheRockGuru

    Ok.. Here goes a praise bit like a crazy rant but its been what? Nearly a decade since i had a proper listen to inner mounting flame. I have a weird habit of not listening to albums i really like... Sort of saving them up for an occasion when i need them most because even great albums wears off sometimes especially when its listened too often and as time goes by they lose that tingling electric high u get as a virgin listener. I remember the first time i listened to mahavishnu i was like is this even real??? Is this fuc*in real??? and i thought that was pretty intense experience back then. But finally.. After all those years and listening to the inner mounting flame again i am totally lost of words.. That reaction i had back then isnt anywhere near comparable..Oh my my my my mouth was open during the entire play of the album with jaw dead dropped probably looked like a total fool if someone caught me with that face but i mean who wouldnt???

    22 Jun 2:56am Reply
  • hauzzer

    Doesn't get any better than this.

    28 May 7:57am Reply
  • smoker05

    Fuck, they are freaking awesome.

    11 Apr 10:57pm Reply
  • S_B_B

    More interesting background information at

    8 Mar 12:51am Reply
  • GrzechoG

    More than 90 years and I still love that music!

    6 Jan 6:07pm Reply
  • chedder1

    these god damned dirty hippies sure do make good music.

    7 Oct 2014 Reply
  • MusicMagic77

    Once again... >> Wild Strings (live bootleg album, 1972)

    28 Sep 2014 Reply
  • thaewrapt

    /me надевает пенсне

    26 Aug 2014 Reply
  • Assedor

    Yes, it is a refined music for intellectuals!

    19 Aug 2014 Reply
  • TaRaBoSt32o14

    Celestial Terrestrial Commuters.

    11 Jul 2014 Reply
  • cogsncogs

    More than 40 years and I still love that music!

    6 Jul 2014 Reply

    Revisiting MO, what a great time

    15 Jun 2014 Reply
  • antiperiodic

    Oh boy this is my new jam! Just what I was looking for. [2] Can anyone recommend me some more spazzy Proggy Fusion? I'm pretty new to this kind of music.

    17 May 2014 Reply
  • WorldInColour

    Oh boy this is my new jam! Just what I was looking for.

    14 May 2014 Reply
  • headgear56

    More than 30 years i still love that music!

    20 Apr 2014 Reply
  • shurochka_22

    very good!

    12 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Slim_rafa


    25 Dec 2013 Reply
  • deedee_27

    I'm so glad I came across this :O amazing!

    14 Dec 2013 Reply
  • solipsismmusic

    Brilliant stuff!

    23 Oct 2013 Reply
  • All 379 shouts

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