Mahavishnu Orchestra: Trilogy
Between Nothingness and Eternity (Live) (Columbia CK 32766)
Jerry Goodman (violin), Rick Laird (bass guitar), Billy Cobham (drums).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: live in Central Park, New York, August 1973
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
"The Sunlit Path," the first chapter of "Trilogy," opens with the sound of a gong and sleigh bells. John's phase-shifted guitar plays an arpeggio, which slowly increases in volume. He is soon joined by the entire band, and they play the melody. Billy keeps a 7/8 rhythm as Jan and John have a musical dialogue. This opening chapter is a short path, but it leads us to the water.
The MO flaunts its command of silence and dynamics to open "La Mere de la Mer" (The Mother of the Sea). McLaughlin picks a delicate arpeggio on his 12-string. Jan's synthesizer reproduces the calls of birds circling above. Jerry and Rick enter playing a duet. The melody gently ascends. Billy plays rolls on his tom and bass drums to produce a refreshing ocean shower. Jan continues to fill the sky with sound effects as John's touching arpeggio weaves in and out. It is always calmest before the storm.
"Tomorrow's Story Not The Same" is the final chapter of the "Trilogy." A monstrous snare drum roll crashes in on a rogue wave to rudely interrupt the placid setting. The band plays two bars of 4 followed by a bar of 6. This is a balls-to-the-wall rocker! Jerry gets off the first solo. Jan and John play a game of "catch me if you can" while Billy swings. Rick is holding it all together. The rousing finale makes you feel as if you have been pummeled by a heavyweight boxer.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky