10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Birds of Fire is the second and final studio album by the original, "classic" Mahavishnu lineup, but it's also a cornerstone of the jazz-rock fusion canon. For one thing, the interplay between the front line of guitar hero John McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer, and former Flock violinist Jerry Goodman is even more fiery and intense here than on the debut album. When the three of them start trading fours (following a lengthy, funky Rick Laird bass solo) on "One Word," it's like the fusion-era equivalent of an old-school bebop cutting session. Of course, McLaughlin's blistering licks are all over the record, but moments like the brassy synth solo on "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" give hints of the greatness still to come from Hammer. But beyond all the smoldering solos, the tunes by bandleader and sole composer McLaughlin stand as much more than mere vehicles for jamming; they emerge as striking statements in and of themselves, be they contemplative pieces like the acoustic-based "Thousand Island Park" or one of the album's many barn-burners.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Birds of Fire is the second and final studio album by the original, "classic" Mahavishnu lineup, but it's also a cornerstone of the jazz-rock fusion canon. For one thing, the interplay between the front line of guitar hero John McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer, and former Flock violinist Jerry Goodman is even more fiery and intense here than on the debut album. When the three of them start trading fours (following a lengthy, funky Rick Laird bass solo) on "One Word," it's like the fusion-era equivalent of an old-school bebop cutting session. Of course, McLaughlin's blistering licks are all over the record, but moments like the brassy synth solo on "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" give hints of the greatness still to come from Hammer. But beyond all the smoldering solos, the tunes by bandleader and sole composer McLaughlin stand as much more than mere vehicles for jamming; they emerge as striking statements in and of themselves, be they contemplative pieces like the acoustic-based "Thousand Island Park" or one of the album's many barn-burners.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

dawud muhammad ,

This here is real Music...

If you have not heard this, you have not experienced music in its true form.

AppStore Guy ,

I Don't Know What to say

After listening to this album for the first time, I was left absolutely speechless…. Expletives and bouts of hysterical laughter are the only way that I can describe the majestic array of sound that just found its way into my ear canals. Bless you Mahavishnu Orchestra.

CalaveraJ ,

Jazz rock fusion at its finest

Upon seeing this album ranked in the 50 albums that built prog rock, I had to check it out.

The energy displayed by the musicians and their obvious talent makes this a great listen, whether you are a fan of jazz or not. I can definitely see the progressive elements in the music that earned this recording a place on the list.

I especially enjoy the track One Word. It is almost 10 minutes long, but only seems to be a couple of minutes long when you listen to it.

Didn't enjoy the song Open Country Joy as much, but it was still okay.

J

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