Warren Haynes: Lila's Dance
Warren Haynes (guitar)
Visions of an Inner Mounting Apocalypse (Tone Center TC 40401)
Mitchel Forman (keyboards), Jeff Richman (guitar), Kai Eckhardt (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: Granada Hills, CA, 2005
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Guitarist Warren Haynes is best known for his gig with the reunited Allman Brothers band and his jam-banding with Gov't Mule. As is the case with many of his guitar-playing contemporaries, he much admired the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Producer and musician Jeff Richman's Mahavishnu tribute album gave him the opportunity to show that respect in a very tangible way.
This version of "Lila's Dance" is most notable for the presence of Jerry Goodman, Mahavishnu's original violinist. His inclusion is of particular interest because this tune was not featured until the second edition of Mahavishnu, and was originally performed by Goodman's replacement, Jean-Luc Ponty.
The original "Lila's Dance" from the Mahavishnu album Visions of the Emerald Beyond followed the structural pattern of Mahavishnu's earlier number "The Dance of Maya." The first parts of both tunes were jazz-rock expositions based upon variations of odd-metered arpeggios. The second parts, which appear with little warning, were almost pure funk hoedowns. This Richman arrangement differs in structure from those two pieces. The rave-up funk section is heard almost immediately in the song rather than as the second part. The contrasting element that was so much a part of the original is virtually missing. Interpretations need not be rubber stamps. Haynes's rocking solo is more blues-rock than jazz-rock. But that is his bag, and he is very good at it. The sound for sore ears is Goodman's violin. He plays in unison with the infectious funk riff that dominates the tune, and his cosmic solo floats above the proceedings as if he is lording his original Mahavishnu member status over the music. (I mean that in a good way.) Throughout the piece the core band put together for this tribute makes it clear they are more than familiar with this material. Haynes, Goodman and the band make this track one of the best on the album.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky