Mahavishnu Orchestra: One Word


One Word


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Birds of Fire (Columbia CK 66081)

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John McLaughlin (guitar), Jan Hammer (keyboards),

Jerry Goodman (violin), Rick Laird (bass guitar), Billy Cobham (drums)


Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: London and New York, August and September 1972


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

"One Word" is the quintessential Mahavishnu performance. Billy's amazingly dynamic snare roll opens the door to a Pandora's Box of Mahavishnu trademarks. First, there is the sinister introductory section with its dizzying array of stops and starts and threatening diversions. Second, Rick gives one of his most outstanding performances. His solo confirms that he is a great bassist capable of much more than just holding down the fort. McLaughlin's penetrating bursts start a furious three-way trade off with Hammer and Goodman. Cobham's powerful but finessed solo, highlighted by his use of the double bass drums, sets the table for a swirling riff-fest.

"One Word" also included snippets from McLaughlin's past work. Its introduction is a variation on the theme "Dragon Song" from his 1970 album Devotion.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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