Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahavishnu Orchestra Live at Montreux 19741984|
Actors: Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Formed by John McLaughlin in 1971, the Mahavishnu Orchestra pioneered the fusion of jazz elements into rock music while still undeniably retaining the power and muscle of a full on rock band. With McLaughlin as the ever-pr... more »
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After all these years...
B. Vercher | Baton Rouge, LA | 09/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At first glance, it looks like a M.O. fan's wet dream come true. But don't get too starry eyed. The problem with this release is a matter of semantics: most will associate Mahavishnu Orchestra with its infamous first line-up, and some of us may even have a stronger appetite for the second ensemble. But the star of this DVD is McLaughlin's mid-80's revival of the group which seems to have been flown under the Orchestra's banner for the purpose of name recognition. There are certain elements which defined the Orchestra in the 70's (Middle Eastern and European Classical inspired compositions meet rock bombast meets jazz improvisations, not forgetting the breakneck speed at which most of this was performed) most of which are lacking in the primary performance here, which takes a more blues/straightforward approach to fusion. Lest I be misconstrued, I must say that this band, featuring saxophonist-extraordinaire Bill Evans and bass titan Jonas Helborg, is as tight as they come and deliver some amazing performances of Grade-A compositions. The second disc of this set offers 1/3 of a full performance by the second M.O. (featuring Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Walden) which holds truer to the original Classical-Jazz-Rock formula of the original quintet, but still disappoints in its incompletion (only 2 of the 6 songs performed are presented in video format; the other 4 are "audio only" tracks). And of course, there is no performance from the first line-up, which I believe is what most M.O. fans have been waiting for. But until (if and when) such footage becomes available, McLaughlin fans of all stripes should be well pleased with the material made available here."
Ravi Shankar at the Indianapolis 500
Samuel B. King | Concord, NH | 10/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not as good as the original band of that name (when will THOSE VIDEOS, which are out there, become available as legit releases?). MacLaughlin, of course, surrounds himself with superb musicians. The relatively unknown 1975 combo video is the best. It reveals that "Mahavishnu" has a sense of humor (particularly the nod to Stevie Wonder on the last piece - beautiful!! - or should I say "sublime"). Unfortunately, the "Visions of the Emerald Dawn" group from 1974 features only 2 or 3 video cuts. The rest is AUDIO ONLY (BOGUS!!). Viewing an eclipse over 40 odd minutes of music is less than enjoyable. However, the footage which IS THERE is a feast for MacLaughlin fans. He plays a variety of instruments (all electric), including his custom made double neck, an early Roland guitar synth (one of the first, this being 1975) and what appears to be a Les Paul Junior. Closeups of his picking and fingering technique are worth the purchase for guitar players. Good shots from Zappa alumni Jean Luc Ponty as well. All in all a good purchase. HOWEVER, I'M STILL WAITING TO SEE "DANCE OF MAYA" OR "MEETING OF THE SPIRITS" FEATURING THE ORIGINAL GROUP. THAT, MY FRIEND, WILL BE A VIDEO WORTH WAITING FOR!!"
Marvelous Mahavishnu at Montreux
Bodhi Heeren | Copenhagen | 09/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a festive year 2007 has been for Mahavishnu fans,with 3 brilliant and very diverse tribute albums: Mahavishnu Project, radio.string.quartet and Colin Towes/Billy Cobham. But this excellent DVD proves the wisdom of the old saying: Ain't nothing like the real thing.
Here we get two fantastic shows. The first from 1974 with MO2 showcasing what might have been John McLaughlin's best band ever and the most musically challenging compositions from his hand. Funk, Miles Davis, Indian, classical melting together in a spiritual and cosmic whole. John's opening solo in "Wings Of Karma" being worth the price of admission alone, the dynamics, the phrasing, everything just right, each note giving its own special treatment: vibrato, glissando, in a way only Jerry Garcia could rival.
The atmosphere is loose and intense at the same time, and the band tight, anchored by a young Narada Michael Walden at the drums and the unsung basshero Ralph Armstrong playing some impressive fretless (2 years before Pastorius burst on the scene). The doll-looking Gayle Moran in pink - soon to become married to Chick Corea - plays some Carla Bley-like keyboard and occasionally lifts up her slightly shrill soprano. While Jean-Luc Ponty delivers some intenese violin. And augmented with both string quartet and a two man horn section, this is unique, visionary and mind-expanding music of the highest calliber.
The sound is not outstanding, but certainly fine enough. And the four last tracks are udio only (so you can enjoy your own inner pictures).
The 1984 show is a lot more polished effort, some slightly more mundane fusion. Though actually this somewhat underrated incarnation of the band certainly also covered quite a lot of musical ground. From muscular funk to delicate ballads like the beautiful "Nostalgia". The highlight being McLaughlin's moving tribute to another musical giant Joe Zawinul "Jozy".
The talent of the band is amazing, Bill Evans on some versatile sax, Mitchell Forman, a very creative keyboard player. Danny Gottlieb grooving hard and subtle, and the star of the show: the mighty bassman Jonas Hellborg, a great artist and technician. And quite a showman too, looking like a vampire in a silent movie. While John mainly plays his synclavierguitar broadening his sonic palette, and of course playing some great solos on this generally inspired performance from the whole band.
Essential for all lovers of John McLaughlin and creative music in general.
Awesome! Despite ad discrepancies, a Must-Have for McLaughl
D. Gorman "Crystalline Structure M | 01/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"IF YOU'RE A McLAUGHLIN FAN, READ THIS REVIEW! I'll give you the real story! Yes, there are a lot of discrepancies in the way this 2-disc DVD set is described and advertised, but there is some fine footage on these DVDs. First, the '84 disc is NOT a Mahavishnu Orchestra concert. It is the group called Mahavishnu, which WAS started by John McLaughlin, but it bares little resemblance to the MO of the 70s. For one thing, the violinist is replaced by reed man (sax & oboe) Bill Evans. Plus, McLaughlin plays mostly guitar-synth...although there are a few excellent rocking guitar solos in this concert, John stays with the guitar-synth on most of the performance. Still, his playing is incredible, as are his compositions. His totally revamped personnel also features drummer Danny Gottlieb from the Pat Metheny Group. The mood is different than the M. Orchestra, but it's still pure McLaughlin!! It was a great show, as long as you realize it is Mahavishnu, NOT the Mahavishnu Orchestra!! It's still a McLaughlin concert that you ought to see!! Next, the '74 DVD IS the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but it's NOT the original line-up. It was the final line-up featuring Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, Gayle Moran (Chick Corea's wife at the time) on keyboards, Ralphe Armstrong on bass and Nerada Michael Walden on drums. Being a big Jean-Luc fan, this line-up did not bother me at all! Despite the description this site gives, there are only 2 songs that actually have visual footage of the band. They do an incredible over-21-minute version of Wings of Karma, followed by a full 28-minute version (even though Gayle had to cut a keyboard solo short due to technical sound problems) of Hymn to Him (both songs from the MO album "Apocalypse") Together, that is nearly 50 minutes of visual footage of a fabulous performance by a great band during an important time in McLaughlin's career. The following 4 tunes would have been much better with visual coverage OF COURSE....but, this is still a great disc to have, even if you never go past the visual portion of the disc! I even had a problem where my discs weren't labeled properly. My '74 disc was labeled '84 and vise versa. But I still don't care! These are two great concerts featuring the genius McLaughlin at two entirely different phases in his illustrious career! And these are worth owning! I had to knock off a star and give this a 4-star rating because of all the faults and disprepancies etc., but there is still a lot of great stuff to watch for the $14.00 I paid for this thing. Sure, there are discrepancies, inconsistancies and things, but if you're a McLaughlin fan, you really ought to see this thing!! Just know what you're getting before you buy it! But believe me!! There is some AWESOME McLaughlin (and other great artists too) Ponty is SMOKING HOT while playing the MO in the '74 disc!! If you get this, you're gonna love it!