Mahavishnu Orchestra: Eternity's Breath Part 1 & Part 2


Eternity's Breath Part 1 & Part 2


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Visions of the Emerald Beyond (Columbia CK 46867)

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John McLaughlin (guitar), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin), Narada Michael Walden (drums),

Bob Knapp (horns), Russell Tubbs (sax), Gayle Moran (keyboards), Steven Kindler, Carol Shive (violins), Phillip Hirschi (cello), Ralphe Armstrong (bass)


Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: New York, December 4-14, 1974


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Visions of the Emerald Beyond is the most overlooked and underappreciated Mahavishnu recording. The album was drenched in a new sort of funkiness that McLaughlin had not explored in previous MO outings. "Eternity's Breath Part 1 & Part 2" opened the record with such a slap to the face you knew you were in for a sonic treat. McLaughlin's notes were fat and strong. Walden's drumming was powerful and propulsive. Ponty's violin literally soared to heights he seldom reached in his previous work. The strings and horns did not have that superfluous quality found in many other "third-stream" efforts. They were relevant to the musical event. Vocals even popped up now and then, and although they could be somewhat "holier than thou," they too added to the orchestral milieu.

Over the years, McLaughlin's funk-drenched opening guitar riff has been joyfully usurped and quoted by the Tonight Show's Kevin Eubanks, the jam band Gov't Mule, and Jeff Beck. Most of the people listening and digging those quotes probably had no idea they came from some group called the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Many listeners wanting to hear a clone of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra never accepted this band. That is too bad, since this version of the MO had a lot to say. The ensemble had a full and engaging sound, plus the balls to present it in a grandiose fashion.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Related Links

In Conversation with John McLaughlin by Walter Kolosky
In Conversation with Jean-Luc Ponty by Thierry Quénum
The Dozens: John McLaughlin on Standards by Walter Kolosky

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