Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Noonward Race


The Noonward Race


Mahavishnu Orchestra


The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia CK 31067)

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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: New York, August 1971


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

"The Noonward Race" wastes no time in its frantic bolt from the starting gate. McLaughlin's dirty G9 rhythmic chords are all over Cobham's percussive attack. The two players propel each other to limits previously unexplored. It is in this noteworthy piece that we first hear McLaughlin and Cobham demonstrate what would become their trademark telepathy as the drummer answers with lightning-quick strokes to each of the guitarist's blistering notes – or is it vice versa? The pair's hyper-tempo forays are joined by Goodman and Hammer. The music devolves to an introductory segment from which is birthed a Jerry Goodman solo played through a Leslie speaker. At this point, the players restate a resolving riff, increasing velocity with each cycle. This paves the way for Jan Hammer's electric piano solo electronically filtered through a ring modulator. McLaughlin unleashes a scorching guitar solo, full of fire and life, improvising on the main theme until eventually reunited with his cohorts. The band slowly retreats, as McLaughlin and Cobham reestablish the vibe of their opening volleys to bring the tune to an abrupt yet fulfilling close.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 deepinder cheema // Mar 29, 2008 at 06:03 AM
    what a silly scoring system. will the community be deeply offended if I gave it 97 marks. what is this?? is it a Pure Mathematics exam..will the student get a First or a starred first.
  • 2 Walter Kolosky // Oct 20, 2008 at 04:15 AM
    I have read your comment and I give it an 83.
  • 3 Ted Gioia // Oct 20, 2008 at 10:39 PM
    Walter, you are too generous. I only give his comment a 76.