Mahavishnu Orchestra: Sister Andrea
Between Nothingness and Eternity (Live) (Columbia CK 32766)
Jerry Goodman (violin), Rick Laird (bass guitar), Billy Cobham (drums).
Composed by Jan Hammer.
Recorded: live in Central Park, New York, August 1973
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
"Sister Andrea" (pronounced Awn-dray-a, not An-dree-a) was originally planned to be on the group's third studio album. The song was worked into the MO's live set, where it remained until the breakup of the band. The track is notable for being one of the few non-McLaughlin written MO pieces. It has a very funky beat, "funky" not being a word often used to describe the music of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra.
After John starts things off with a few licks, the rest of the band joins in, playing the funk groove of the song's A-section. They slip into the B-section, the infectious beat making way for a slower, almost ominous blues. This serves as a launching pad for McLaughlin's dazzling 12-string solo. After John's turn, the A-section is revisited, providing the groove for Jerry. The buoyant beat gives the gritty rock 'n' roll side of Jerry's playing a place to hang out. He lays into the piece. The Cobham and Laird rhythm section play around with the elastic groove. The band returns to the B-section, this time featuring Jan. His echo-drenched lines screech and scream over John and Rick's riffing. At tune's end, the volume is so loud it challenges our capacity to absorb it.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky