CD of the month: The Original Mahavishnu Orchestra

Guitarist John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra – which is actually a quintet, including keyboard whiz Jan Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman – was one of the three pioneering 70s fusion groups, alongside Return To Forever and Weather Report. This five-disc set, featuring some of Billy Cobham’s finest drumming, is essential listening, especially at a sub-£20 price.

UnknownThe set includes the original Orchestra’s entire studio output in their previously available remastered versions: the raw debut Inner Mounting Flame; the more slickly produced Birds Of Fire, engineered by Ken Scott; and their third studio album, recorded in June 1973, but not released until 1999, The Lost Trident Sessions. However, as awesome as the studio albums are, it is the live material here that is the real draw, and which should even entice those who already own the studio releases to pick up this set.

The group’s live album Between Nothingness And Eternity, recorded in New York’s Central Park in 1973, gets its first ever remastering here and is completely transformed. But the fifth disc, which contains an incredible 64 minutes of previously unreleased music from the 1973 shows, including superb versions of ‘One World’ and ‘The Dance Of Maya’, makes this set utterly indispensable.

4/5

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