Mahavishnu Orchestra: Thousand Island Park


Thousand Island Park


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: 97/100 (learn more)

"Thousand Island Park" is evidence that the same Mahavishnu Orchestra that was capable of shaking your kidney stones loose could touch your heart. This piece is played acoustically by John, Jan and Rick as if they were a jazz trio performing chamber music. The melody, which is classical in nature, is established by John's and Jan's unison single-note runs. Rick's upright bass is quite prominent. Electric instruments can hide a lot of flaws. Acoustic instruments are unforgiving. The smallest flubs are magnified. To hear a jazz-rock band that was as deafeningly loud as the Mahavishnu Orchestra play acoustic music with this kind of refinement and deftness was a true revelation. McLaughlin and Hammer create a landscape of fluttering fragility as their notes dart in and out from behind the trees. This is when you appreciate you are listening to masters at work. The rapport established during the improvised sections is nothing less than the highest form of intuitive collaboration.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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