As the second album to document the second Mahavishnu Orchestra, this one isn't as, well, apocalyptic as its predecessor, yet it does focus more intently on the band itself. Jean-Luc Ponty's curling electric violin lines help give this Mahavishnu band a more European sound than its predecessor, and some of the orchestral concepts of Apocalypse work their way into the picture via comments by a string trio and trumpet/sax duo. This band also had some interest in a bombastic funk direction that may have been borrowed from Mr. "Chameleon" Herbie Hancock, and would later be followed by Mahavishnu Two's drummer, Michael Walden. Gayle Moran's ethereal vocals don't date as badly as those on many jazz-rock records; at least she can sing.
2007 five CD set, a great installment in Sony/BMG's Original Album Classics series that brings together rare and out of print titles with some best sellers from the Sony/BMG Jazz catalog. Many of these albums have been unavailable on CD for some time and are sought after by collectors. Each set is presented in a high quality, rigid cardboard slipcase containing five 'vinyl replica' mini LP sleeves. This collection from the Jazz ensemble features the albums Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire, Between Nothingness & Eternity, Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond.
Inner Worlds is an album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It's the group's fifth studio album. In 1975, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and keyboardist Gayle Moran left the band. Also, all string and horn accompaniments the group used on its previous album, Visions of the Emerald Beyond, were dismissed. Stu Goldberg was brought in as a replacement for Moran, and then the album was recorded. This would be the last album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra for nearly ten years, when leader and guitarist John McLaughlin re-formed the group in 1984. The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a jazz-rock fusion group, led by John McLaughlin, that debuted in 1971 and dissolved in 1976 and reunited briefly from 1984 to 1987.
Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second – and, no thanks to internal feuding, last – studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading – with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham's machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird's dancing bass – can be heard on the aptly named "One Word," and the title track is a defining moment of the group's nearly atonal fury. The band also takes time out for a brief bit of spaced-out electronic burbling and static called "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love." Yet the most enticing pieces of music on the record are the gorgeous, almost pastoral opening and closing sections to "Open Country Joy," a relaxed, jocular bit of communal jamming that they ought to have pursued further.
Birds of Fire is Mahavishnu Orchestra’s second studio album. It was released in 1973. It is the last one performed by the original Mahavishnu Orchestra line-up, before Jean-Luc Ponty replaced Jerry Goodman on violin and Narada Michael Walden replaced Billy Cobham on drums.
If not for the Mahavishnu Orchestra's first album, The Inner Mounting Flame, this second, 1973 outing might well be considered the greatest of all jazz-fusion essays. If you're new to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this is probably the best place to start, then pick up 1971's The Inner Mounting Flame.