Mahavishnu Orchestra: I Wonder
The Lost Trident Sessions (Columbia Legacy CK 65959)
John McLaughlin (guitar),
Jan Hammer (keyboards), Jerry Goodman (violin), Rick Laird (bass), Billy Cobham (drums).
Composed by Jerry Goodman.
Recorded: London, June 1973; released 1999
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
"I Wonder" was Jerry Goodman's chance to show his fine composing skills in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Unfortunately, those skills were not to be heard for 26 years because of the band's failure to get its act together during the recording of what was supposed to be its third studio album. The album never saw the light of day. Luckily, in 1999 Columbia released The Lost Trident Sessions, which included the tapes of the failed attempt.
The tune begins with a Goodman pizzicato played over a round-robin bass, drums and electric piano. This cycle continues throughout the entire piece. McLaughlin enters center stage wailing from moment one. The reverb is bouncing off the inside walls of your skull. After his offering and a major Cobham drum roll, Hammer's Moog does the same. Strangely, though at times Goodman mimics Hammer's lines, there is no violin solo. "I Wonder" slowly circles the drain before entering it.
This is a good piece and stands on its own merits. However, it is not really a Mahavishnu tune. It is a Jerry Goodman tune and belongs in his repertoire. It is little known that Goodman himself is a very fine guitarist. The vitriol that surrounded the members of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at that time, and especially the stories, both true and untrue, of the anger at the original recording sessions has led to much myth. There was a story going around for years that Goodman actually played the guitar on "I Wonder." Goodman says that those stories are ridiculous.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky