Mahavishnu Orchestra: Vital Transformation


Vital Transformation


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: 99/100 (learn more)

Cobham's drum shuffle begins "Vital Transformation." McLaughlin introduces a dastardly multi-note pattern, which is most likely a compound 9/8 meter. Goodman quickly enters, playing in quick time, doubling on the initial pentatonic minor, first high on the neck and then sliding down it. The repetition builds tension. En masse, the band breaks away from the tune's restless anxiety with a resolving section dominated by Goodman and McLaughlin's soaring lines. John launches into a cutting guitar solo that becomes airborne, flying over an active polyrhythmic accompaniment. The piece resolves again, only to be diverted by the reappearance of Cobham's muscular shuffle. A group fadeout, accented by Hammer's ring-modulated electric piano, completes the transformation.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Related Links

In Conversation with John McLaughlin by Walter Kolosky
The Dozens: John McLaughlin on Standards by Walter Kolosky

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