April 17, 2011

The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin - you can point to these guys and know this is where it all started.

Without question, the most influential and pivotal band in the Progressive Rock movement of the late 1960's/early 1970's. The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin took Jazz-Fusion and expanded on it with elements of Rock, while taking bits of World and Classical along for the ride and in doing so managed to free up the whole playing field. The result was a wave of musicians who saw this as the answer, and shortly after bands all over the UK and Europe were experimenting and taking elements and mixing them. The result was an atmosphere of music no longer relegated to the restrictions of pop or the parameters of the "hit tune", but taking it into an interesting and ultimately satisfying place that appealed to a lot of people all over the world and continues to appeal to new generations.

This concert, recorded at The Emerson Gymnasium of Case Western University in Cleveland on April 21, 1972 was typical of their shows at the time. Not big on theatrics or stage presentation - they were all about the notes. Here is the track listing in case you're not familiar or are hearing this band for the first time:

1: Meeting of the Spirits
2: You know you know
3: The Dance of Maya
4: The Noonward Race

It's also interesting to realize they were the opening act on a bill that also featured Procol Harum as well as West, Bruce And Laing as headliners. If nothing else, the 70's were notorious for interesting concert lineups.

Needless to say, The Mahavishnu Orchestra didn't stay a warmup act for very long. And for the next hour you'll get to hear why.

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