Listen to more Mahavishnu Orchestra at Wolfgang's Vault.
Rock impresario Bill Graham's work endures at Wolfgang's Vault, where hundreds of the concerts he produced are available for purchase or free embedding. For jazz listeners, there are many choices for Miles Davis, one for John Coltrane, and a slew of concerts by the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Mahavishnu had three Miles Davis alumni — guitarist and mastermind John McLaughlin, powerhouse drummer Billy Cobham, and keyboardist Jan Hammer — which accounts for the group being among the few fusion bands that preserved a feeling of jazz among the temptations of noodling, volume, and posturing that came with the 1970s in general and fusion in particular. The other band members are violinist Jerry Goodman and bassist Rick Laird.
Listen to the intense interaction and trading among McLaughlin, Goodman, and Hammer on this tune from Wolfgang's Vault.
I loved Mahavishnu, still do. It was sort of a cult then, and now probably moreso. I will concede that the speed and energy amounts to wretched edcess. And I'm sure many people hate this sound, which is so firmly installed in the fusion category: widely considered the cancer, the excrescence of jazz. But I don't care.