Cincinnati Babyhead

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CB Gets Lazy

The ‘Inner Mounting Flame is my second look at The Mahavishnu Orchestra. I was just blown away by this band. John McLaughlin, Rick Laird, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and Billy Cobham. They make some of my favorite music. Beautiful noise. This album still sounds fresh.

I am going to give you all a break and let my friend Francisco ( https://eretxa.wordpress.com/ ) give you his words on this great record. We are on common ground with this one. He was kind enough to lend me his take. I love it. Take it away fella.

It was August of 1971, and I was about to enter High School…

But I was already in love with music, especially the rock music of the era. This was when musicians tended to blend elements of blues, jazz and country and weave all that through the ever increasing riffs and progressions of developing rock. A new sound was being worked on, brought up from the earth, conjured, and created. And it seriously seduced me, captured me, and made me a life-long fan…

Then I heard a new sound…

The Inner Mounting Flame. This album was released in the summer when I turned sixteen and was already playing guitar in some garage bands in my Miami neighbourhood. It blew my mind! It was ‘far out’, cool beyond compare, an album to sit and listen to and guitar solos to try to learn.

As it turned out this was the first studio album of the North American band Mahavishnu Orchestra. They were considered ‘jazz-fusion’, but I just considered them incredible!

It was released on the 14th of August 1971. It is album number 89 on the Billboard top 200 of that year. It is now considered as the first…one of the first I would say…album to fuse jazz and rock to make jazz-rock. Sort of how I fused jazz and art to make ‘JaZzArt’, (got to throw in a bit of shameless self-promotion). One of the tunes, “You Know, You Know” has been covered by Massive Attack, Mos Def, Black Sheep and David Sylvian, and maybe others.

15 Vishnu ideas | mahavishnu orchestra, jazz fusion, mclaughlin
(John McLaughlin, 1942 – )

A wee bit about John McLaughlin, (English guitarist extraordinaire, whose solo on the song “Miles Beyond” from their album Birds of Fire won a Grammy in 2018 for the Best Solo for Jazz Improvisation), was known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. He was born in Doncaster on the 4th of January 1942). He played his axe to the max and led the group, also arranging and composing. He not only fused elements of Jazz and rock, but he added ‘world beat’ and the most unique sounds of Indian Classical Music, Flamenco and the Blues. He came to the United States in 1969 and recorded with Miles Davis, playing in such “classics” as In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson and On the Corner. Undoubtedly McLaughlin and the band he created, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, is made up of all virtuoso musicians, technically and creatively. They are more than quite capable of creating their style of electric jazz-rock fusion with Indian influences et al.

John McLaughlin Heads Out on the Road Again

If I sound a bit excited about this album it is because I am. I had not heard it in years but now that I got it out and placed it under the needle, that vinyl still sounds as good as the day I bought it. And listening to it has truly transported me back there, to that other world that existed prior to terrorism, politically correctness, sexual harassment and COVID-19. Go figure…

Thanks for letting me do this Francisco. Appreciate your permission to share your personal connection with Mahavishnu Orchestra. Plus letting me get a little lazy. Gracias.

(Check out Francisco’s blog. He is one talented guy and always has interesting content. https://eretxa.wordpress.com/ )

48 comments on “CB Gets Lazy

  1. badfinger20 (Max)
    June 20, 2021

    Anytime I hear someone say something transported them to a certain time…that is what it’s all about and I can relate. I like the way he described it. I listen to this as a fan of music…not as a musician…they are miles above my paygrade…McLaughlin is just amazing. I love how they combine everything together. It’s jazzy but it has some rock/pop sensibilities…if that is the word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      ‘Birds Of Fire’ is where I came on bored. They are all that stuff you’re talking about but man do they take it into some heavy places. Two of the most quiet unassuming musicians I listen to (Fripp and McLaughlin) really whig out on the guitar. They get loud and nasty.

      Liked by 1 person

      • badfinger20 (Max)
        June 20, 2021

        I do remember some when I listened to them the first time that got pretty hard. I’ve learned…if it sounds easy they did their job well and the biggest lesson…its not.
        I have to work some tomorrow and I willl catch some more as I do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 20, 2021

        Very cool Max. Billy Cobham plays some mean drums. All those guys are good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Vinyl Connection
    June 20, 2021

    Always good to be reminded how excellent this debut was. Although it certainly wasn’t the first jazz-rock album, it was there in the first wave and deserves all the accolades it has received over the years.
    CB, I’m deeply shocked that you are not a fan of Birds Of Fire. We need to seek a remedy for that, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      That last comment has me grinning and speechless. I’ll get varication from my cat (she’ll put her mark on the document) that I am a certified fan of that album.
      Do we know officially what us experts say is the first jazz/rock album? Bitches?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vinyl Connection
        June 25, 2021

        Bitches Brew is commonly accepted as ground zero, much as ITCOTCK is cited as the ‘first’ progressive rock album. Both are open for bigger stories, I reckon. A post on jazz-rock beginnings would be a good topic, for sure.

        In the meantime, seek out the self-titled ‘Dreams’ and have another listen to ‘Hot Rats’.

        Hope you’re thriving, buddy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 25, 2021

        Im just that more well informed when I hang with you. I would have guessed that Crimson was near the beginning.
        Dreams? Where have I been. Had a peek at the lineup. Know most of the members but the Music? ‘Hot Rats’ was stuck on my turntable for a few days just a while ago. There goes that violin again.
        Just trying to stay away from the madness. Off to check out this new band ‘Dreams’ thanks fella.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Vinyl Connection
        June 26, 2021

        Pleasure. And thanks for jogging me to think about a piece on early jazz-rock. Probably you and I would be the only nerds interested, but… (shrugs).

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 26, 2021

        Got pretty good response and feed back on this take so we might be surprised. If not we can still fill our boots.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. deKE
    June 20, 2021

    Great title for a post CB lol. Kudos to your pal for stepping up.. We all need days off now and then

    Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      Groucho really dug Mahavishnu. I just came across Francisco’s take and thought it was a good idea for a couple reasons. I always think it’s cool when I find common ground in this thing we do. Thanks deKE

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger
    June 20, 2021

    Fantastic, mind-blowing band. There are great YouTube videos of them in concert.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. christiansmusicmusings
    June 20, 2021

    While I’ve known their name for a long time, I’ve yet to explore Mahavishnu Orchestra. I’ve listened to some of John McLaughlin’s other music. Had you asked me about jazz rock fusion 8 to 10 years ago, I probably would have answered, ‘no way, Jose.’ I’ve since come to conclusion to always stay open-minded.

    After sampling the first three tracks of this album, it’s obvious these are all killer musicians. But I will definitely need to spend more time with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      Very cool how how mindset and ear with change. This albums still sounds good. Try ‘Birds Of Fire” it was the one that hooked me first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • christiansmusicmusings
        June 20, 2021

        Thanks for the tip, CB, will be sure to check out that one as well. In the meantime, I’ve listened to some additional tracks from “The Inner Mounting Flame,” and I’m already starting to like it.

        Obviously, there’s no harmony singing or any catchy pop hooks in here, which usually get my attention. Time and again, I realize how much pop is really ingrained in my music brain, no matter which genre I listen to.

        But that doesn’t mean all music needs to have these elements for me to like it. What it oftentimes means is I simply need a bit more time before it fully clicks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 20, 2021

        I think your comment is true with this kind of music. It is hard dense stuff. Like I was saying to Fox,McLaughlin is all over my record pile. He did one with Santana (I know you’re a fan) you might like also. You are stretching your boundaries and this jazz influenced stuff will take you into an over whelming wealth of great music. Some needs a little time others like your organ people is more easy accessible.
        Im listening to my own comment and spinning the Mac/Santana right now. Opening cut is ‘Love Supreme’. It is pretty powerful stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • christiansmusicmusings
        June 20, 2021

        Many moons ago, my brother-in-law introduced me to “Friday Night in San Francisco,” McLaughlin’s live album with Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucía. I ended up digging it at the time but haven’t listened to it in ages. Santana has done quite a bit of fusion as well, so I can see McLaughlin and him work together very well. I guess I’ll have to check that one as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 20, 2021

        All those good guitarists found each other back then. Sounds to me like you have been around this type of music for a long time. The Santana/Mac is a bit of a guitar attack with Larry Young throwing in some organ. Thanks for the input. Francisco did a good job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • christiansmusicmusings
        June 20, 2021

        Just returned from a short walk (pretty hot in my area today!) during which I listened to some of the McLaughlin album with Santana – good stuff! I think it’s fair to say that one’s a bit less far out than Mahavishnu Orchestra. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 20, 2021

        It gets a little intense at times but not like Mahavishnu. I’m on a bit of that vibe today. I do like it when they crank it up. Goodmans violin is so good to my ear. Ill get over late and see what surprises you have for your Sunday listening.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. hotfox63
    June 20, 2021

    The music on “The Inner Mounting Flame” has overwhelmingly brilliance and beauty. Like on later Mahavishnu Orchestra albums you can hear the influence of Indian music. I always enjoyed “My Goal’s Beyond”. Mc Laughlin’s acoustic guitar playing here is unique. It sounds as if he has overcome technology and came into absolute music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      Its funny when people talk about top rock guitarists that John Mac gets overlooked. Maybe because of the jazz thing? I love his playing and I dont think he plays second fiddle to anyone. I have him on so many records.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        June 21, 2021

        I always think of John McLaughlin as a kind of western Ravi Shankar of the guitar. You can hear that this is the music of a deeply felt expression of an inner attitude of the musician.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 21, 2021

        He definitely has those leanings.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Jim S.
    June 20, 2021

    Great album, great band. I caught this band back in the day but I missed JM on his last tour. I didn’t even know it was happening until I read it on some other blogger’s site. The late ’60s, through the ’70s were the heyday of fusion. It’s not gone but it’s not like it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 20, 2021

      You have seen some very good bands Doc. I would say that seeing this group would be a feather in the old concert hat.
      Just seen Mac on a program, International Jazz Day. He didnt cut loose . let the others in the band solo. Cool guy.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        June 20, 2021

        I got lucky on concerts. I was in the right place (NYC) at the right time with some friends with pretty eclectic tastes. We saw so many shows and they were so great it opened up a new world for me and set me off in a direction. Going to concerts pretty much WAS my social life for many years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 21, 2021

        I was fortunate to catch most the people I wanted to see but this band I missed. Seen McLaughlin and Cobham when they were with their own bands. You were lucky to be in that situation. NYC would be a hotbed of eclectic music for sure.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 21, 2021

        The northeast is a key market for any band to play. But if a band can only play one place and then move on, 9 times out of 10 they’ll pick NY. They know that Philly and Boston people will travel. So, the ABB had a pretty rabid following in this area. But when it came to have a residency, they played the Beacon. Saw them there a few times including their “almost very last” show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 21, 2021

        I get the travel thing. On the West Coast we got a lot of the bands from out of Cali, Seattle etc.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 21, 2021

        West Coast? I thought you were in Manitoba.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 21, 2021

        Originally then caught a ride with Neil in his hearse out to Vancouver.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 21, 2021

        Life in the CB lane.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Aphoristical
    June 21, 2021

    I like this band, but don’t know them super well. I generally like the 1970s fusion vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 21, 2021

      I always had this group mixed in with Yes, Crimson plus the other fusion bands like Return To Forever etc. The musical ideas rally caught my ear. The guitar heavy sound grabbed me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 1537
    June 21, 2021

    Nice one fella. I do love this one and Birds.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. observationblogger
    June 22, 2021

    This is excellent. I have heard it three times through. My kids must hear it. Thank you for introducing me to it. It’s something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 22, 2021

      It really is good if it catches you. The kids must like different stuff if you think they’d like this. Matt if this is doing it for you then ‘Birds Of Fire’ is a must.

      Like

  11. the press music reviews
    June 23, 2021

    Saw McLaughlin a few years ago, with Chick Corea. One of the great jazz gigs. Love his guitar tone on those Miles albums (Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson etc). A good read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 23, 2021

      I seen John and Chick but not together, That would have been very cool. Yes those Miles albums are part of my listening rotation.

      Like

  12. keepsmealive
    June 24, 2021

    You ain’t lazy, CB. Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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