Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Lost Trident Sessions
What is being touted as the discovery of the 90’s or something similar to – finding life on Mars, The Lost Trident Sessions represents The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 3rd studio album which was preempted in favor of the live “Between Nothingness and Eternity”. Hard to believe something so important could go unnoticed? Well, thanks to producer and recording artist Bob Belden The Lost Trident Sessions finally hits the bins, some 26 years afterwards..
The late Tony Williams and his “Lifetime” band may have been credited for “inventing” fusion; however, The Mahavishnu Orchestra were perhaps the first to bring this genre into the forefront with their thoroughly amazing 1st release for Columbia titled, “Inner Mounting Flame”. Mind boggling virtuosity, raw power, discipline and truly demanding music employing “high-octane” jazz licks and feverish soloing were the keys to success, coupled with a –soaring heavenward- sound befitting John McLaughlin’s spiritual intentions and motivations. In the early 1970’s, this band’s rigorous touring schedules along with conflicting egos, personal differences and as Jan Hammer states, ever so bluntly, ”We just got sick of each other”...the band just exploded, then imploded into smithereens”.
McLaughlin’s “Dream” commences with gentle interplay between McLaughlin and violinist Jerry Goodman with a now familiar - calm before the storm – approach. Here, the music proceeds in typical climactic fashion with difficult unison lines, incredibly fast tempi, emphatic lyricism, fervent soloing and the as expected ...”commanding and charismatic” presence. McLaughlin’s “Trilogy” is linear (a familiar compositional element) and rocks out in straight fours featuring the mighty double bass drum work of Billy Cobham along with alternating solos, including Jan Hammer’s distinctive “moog” synthesizer performances which is also evident on Hammer’s composition, “Sister Andrea”. Jerry Goodman’s composition “I Wonder” features McLaughlin’s ripping hard-edged bluesy guitar soloing while Rick Laird’s linear and rhythmically complex “Stepping Stones” boasts harmonious themes and heated exchanges.
Not just a historical document or unearthed relic, The Lost Trident Sessions is a formidable work from a band who flat out knocked people off their stools. The material and recording is top notch and coincides with the logical progression of their first two studio recordings, “Inner Mounting Flame” and “Birds Of Fire”, especially when this could have been a poorly recorded bootleg or perhaps an ill advised reissue. Fans of this band should not be disappointed here.......a major and noteworthy discovery for all the world to hear! * * * * *
John McLaughlin; Guitar: Jerry Goodman; Violin: Jan Hammer; Keyboards: Billy Cobham; Drums