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Thread: Mahavishnu - The Lost Trident Sessions

  1. #1
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    Mahavishnu - The Lost Trident Sessions

    I pulled out this 1973 album from the great Mahavishnu Orchestra the other day and listened to the first cut, "Dream". I was blown away by how outstanding these artists chops were back in their heyday. I mean, to think of how good the previous two classic studio albums were and then they record another stellar release in Trident Studios that somehow gets "lost" for some 25 years; it's mind blowing! With Goodman, Laird, Cobham and Hammer on board they smash Jazz-Rock fusion over the head once more. Not a bad cut to be had here; even the shorter tracks on side two sound just fine to my ears. It's a shame that the only member from this original line up to rejoin John in the 1984 reunion was Cobham and then only briefly, as Gottlieb resumed his role on drums in 1985.

    Does anyone else think that this album challenges the previous two as their zenith of studio releases?

  2. #2
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I think that it is, at best, a very, very competent and very mediocre album. IMO, each of the three ‘real albums’ by the original band, is a significant bettering of what came before. This is by far the least inspired and driven sounding, to my ears.

    I am about as big of a fan of that band as anyone. When it was announced, I ran and bought it immediately and spent a few months trying to make myself like it.

    I sold it within a year and never regretted it.

    I am sorry that I cast a downer on your post, but I thought that this was one of the few archival type things that should never have been released.
    Steve F.

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  3. #3
    It's OK. There are some great moments, but too few of these to really make it a great album for me. It's also too short for me to really consider it "complete," it feels very unfinished. That said, I enjoy it for what it is when I spin it. I'm glad they released it. I don't really care for the band after the original lineup, so having a bit more of that works for me, even if it isn't stellar.

    Bill

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    ^^^^ (in reply to Steve F.)

    No problem, I appreciate your honest take on the release. Just a bit surprised, though, as both Gnosis (11.6) and P/A (4.2) give it high marks. It's always interesting to hear the different perspectives, but on this one it is little bit puzzling as to what made it "the least inspired and driven sounding" album of their early work.

  5. #5
    It lacks the raw spark that the first two studio albums had, but the "new" songs exclusive to it are nice to have.

    The Between Nothingness and Eternity versions of the three "big" songs are much better than their studio counterparts. It was a wise move to release them that way. I wish we could get a release of the full Central Park concerts these were drawn from. The bonus disc in the "Complete Albums" release was a nice start, but having the full shows would be even better.

  6. #6
    I think it was worth releasing in the CD years, but I agree Between Nothingness.. was a better choice to release at the time.

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    Just a bit surprised, though, as both Gnosis (11.6) and P/A (4.2) give it high marks. It's always interesting to hear the different perspectives, but on this one it is little bit puzzling as to what made it "the least inspired and driven sounding" album of their early work.

    Quote Originally Posted by profusion View Post
    It lacks the raw spark that the first two studio albums had
    I absolutely agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by profusion View Post
    The Between Nothingness and Eternity versions of the three "big" songs are much better than their studio counterparts.
    I absolutely agree.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profusion View Post
    The Between Nothingness and Eternity versions of the three "big" songs are much better than their studio counterparts.
    Yes, and I'm not even fan of Between Nothingness and Eternity , which I consider sloppy and noodly. The boots that I've heard sounded much better to me.

  9. #9
    Member mnprogger's Avatar
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    my favorite Mahavishnu, although Like Children I still put even higher.

  10. #10
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    I like it, even though it's unfinished with a rough mix and zero production.

    I hear what it should have been for the playing here is miraculous.

    In Ken Scotts' book, he stated while they were recording the Trident Sessions the band was miserable and constantly arguing.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  11. #11
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I like it, but it is not as captivating as the previous.

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    Great album, compositions are more jazzy, than on their two previous. I like it a lot. My favorite, however, remains the Birds of Fire.

  13. #13
    deciding to can it shows they had good judgment and self criticism

  14. #14
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Solid compositions but lacking the spark of the other albums. Somewhat fascinating, initially....

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    deciding to can it shows they had good judgment and self criticism
    QFT
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  16. #16
    Yes, it is more reined-in than the others. Still the build-up in the first 5+ minutes in 'Dream' through McLaughlin's power chords and Hammer's fat Moog response, is one of those forearm-hair-raising moments for me. There are sufficient album parts close-enough to that, which makes me very glad to have it.

  17. #17
    Gave this a fresh listen tonight. At 39 minutes, it's not as short as I'd recalled, but it still has a very unfinished feel.

    There are fusion bands that would be lucky to put out an album this good. I that sense, I give it a a sold B+/A-. But as a Mahavishnu album, it does feel a bit underbaked. It's still very listenable, though, and the good moments are basically as good as their two studio albums... they just don't happen as frequently. I'm personally glad they released it, and for me, it's a period at the end of the Mahavishnu sentence. What happened after that is a totally different thing, imo.

    Bill

  18. #18
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    ^^^^ (in reply to Steve F.)

    No problem, I appreciate your honest take on the release. Just a bit surprised, though, as both Gnosis (11.6) and P/A (4.2) give it high marks. It's always interesting to hear the different perspectives, but on this one it is little bit puzzling as to what made it "the least inspired and driven sounding" album of their early work.
    I have to somewhat agree with Steve. But I chose to keep it (even though I can't figure out where I stored it right now).

    While I initially loved it, the last three times I played it (somewhere between 3 and 7 years ago), I must say that I wasn't very enthralled anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by profusion View Post
    It lacks the raw spark that the first two studio albums had, but the "new" songs exclusive to it are nice to have.
    The Between Nothingness and Eternity versions of the three "big" songs are much better than their studio counterparts. It was a wise move to release them that way. I wish we could get a release of the full Central Park concerts these were drawn from. The bonus disc in the "Complete Albums" release was a nice start, but having the full shows would be even better.
    Yup for both comments (raw spark and better live versions), but for the three new tracks, IMHO, they don't hold up to the rest of MO's Mk I discography.

    And I would also like to get the full Central Park show.


    Quote Originally Posted by nosebone View Post
    I like it, even though it's unfinished with a rough mix and zero production.
    I hear what it should have been for the playing here is miraculous.

    In Ken Scotts' book, he stated while they were recording the Trident Sessions the band was miserable and constantly arguing.
    Nothing new from what I understood. The two factions were already there during IMF. McL was a bit too directive ... and it didn't change during the Mk II career (read Ponty's eyes during the Montreux film)

    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    deciding to can it shows they had good judgment and self criticism
    Well if I remember from the booklet, it was the first time that McL (usually backed by Cobbham) didn't get his way, losing to Hammer & Goodman... and Laird (which usually chose to remain neutral).

    One can also consider that MO was McL's ship (difficult to disagree with that) and that this lead directly to the end of the band.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #19
    I recall reading that McLaughlin's idea was to add orchestration to these recordings, as sort of a proto-version of the idea behind Apocalypse. That doesn't seem like it would have been so great. MO Mk. II was built specifically around that idea, where the appeal of Mk. 1 was in its aggressive rawness and interplay. Adding horns and strings to that wouldn't have been productive.

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    I enjoyed this album when it came out. To me, good but not great would be my rating. I remember playing this quite a bit right after its release. As more of a fan of the Mark II over the Mark I albums, this was more in my wheel house than the first three albums. I know that is a real minority position here but that's how I see it. I haven't played the first two albums (never owned the third) in over a decade, it seems like a good way to spend my afternoon to see if my tastes have changed.

  21. #21
    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Is there a consensus opinion as to necessity of getting the (download-only?) "Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity"? I think the only physical release was in a Complete Collection box that went OOP before I ever heard of it.

  22. #22
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Is there a consensus opinion as to necessity of getting the (download-only?) "Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity"? I think the only physical release was in a Complete Collection box that went OOP before I ever heard of it.
    A consensus opinion? I dunno.
    MY opinion? Happy to offer it up.

    There are an awful lot of high quality live recordings of the Mahas. I have quite a few. I also have the two discs from the complete collection; does the download sell it as two or one discs worth?

    The previously unreleased stuff ranges from (imo) decent to pretty excellent takes on material that is well known elsewhere. As a stand-alone live show, it isn’t one of my favorites, but I am glad that I own it, I DO play it and I very much like it.

    What should also be mentioned here is that when they mixed the unreleased live tracks for release, they also remixed the original 3 tracks of Between Nothingness & Eternity. And they are different and the differences are a little subtle but worth pointing out.

    While sonically I would agree that the sound is improved, I found myself greatly preferring the original mix.

    The new mix is much more a genuine documentation of the concert, but, again, I prefer the original.

    The original mix seemed to be careful to present the music in a way that seemed to showcase the band more 'carefully'. The trading of solos and ensemble parts are mixed so that they don't step on each others toes so much/don't push against each other so much. Everything (amazingly so for the notoriously competitive MO) seems to have a place to fit.

    Well, when you hear the concert as it really happened, even though it is not *so* different, you can hear musicians musically getting in each other's way and competing against each other for space for their line. It's interesting. It's as if the original engineers mixed the album as if it were 'tailoring' the performance the way one would sculpt a studio performance. Or maybe they were simply appalled at five musicians so blatantly stepping on each other’s toes.

    There's no polite way to put this. Mahavishnu Orchestra were one of the originators (maybe THE originator) of 'big dick' music. Everyone was constantly showing off their virtuosic 'big dick'. This over-the-top approach and fast pace led to huge excitement but also to sloppiness at times and to musical 'stepping on toes'. This new mix is closer to what really was coming off the stage, but I kind of am fond of the original and of pretending that they were better at being politer towards each other.

    Maybe they wouldn't have imploded quite as soon as they did if they had been... :-)
    Last edited by Steve F.; 05-24-2021 at 06:29 PM.
    Steve F.

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The original mix seemed to be careful to present the music in a way that seemed to showcase the band more 'carefully'. The trading of solos and ensemble parts are mixed so that they don't step on each others toes so much/don't push against each other so much. Everything (amazingly so for the notoriously competitive MO) seems to have a place to fit.
    On this topic, I saw a Facebook post from engineer Don Puluse a few months ago saying that for Inner Mounting Flame they spent three days recording and two weeks mixing, with all band members present for the mixing (the last of which surprised me a bit). There was a remix of IMF for the first CD and again it left everyone's parts up while the original "sculpted" it more. For instance, listening to the LP I never noticed McLaughlin's rhythm playing during Jerry Goodman's solo on "Dawn" but on the CD it is equally loud and competing with him a bit.

  24. #24
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    On this topic, I saw a Facebook post from engineer Don Puluse a few months ago saying that for Inner Mounting Flame they spent three days recording and two weeks mixing, with all band members present for the mixing (the last of which surprised me a bit). There was a remix of IMF for the first CD and again it left everyone's parts up while the original "sculpted" it more. For instance, listening to the LP I never noticed McLaughlin's rhythm playing during Jerry Goodman's solo on "Dawn" but on the CD it is equally loud and competing with him a bit.
    I have never run across this ‘remix’ of IMF; do you have a link to it??
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I have never run across this ‘remix’ of IMF; do you have a link to it??
    This is the Discogs link (the booklet mentions that Mark Wilder remixed it). One identifier is that "Dawn" runs 5:20 in this version versus 5:09 on the current remaster (they let it run a bit longer at the end before fading it). On the opening chords of "Meeting Of The Spirits," Goodman's violin is up in this version while it is mixed down in the original. I couldn't find it on YouTube.

    https://www.discogs.com/The-Mahavish...U6NTM4ODUwOTI=

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