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tom moody

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Mahavishnu Orchestra on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. "Dance of the Maya" segues into "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters." (Announcer at the end: "Next on Rock Concert: Poco.")

Yes, McLaughlin is a guitar god, and this page is post-guitar, but the best thing about the clip, besides the forgotten high level of musicianship, is remembering the brief time when pop music didn't have to have vocals.

"While it became fashionable to bash the MahaOrch after the punk era as 'pretentious,' it must be remembered that McLaughlin was a Miles Davis sideman and his group's sound had much in common with the intense sonic stew of the Live/Evil, Bitches Brew era. And while their recordings after the first couple degenerated into aimless soloing and hobbit-rock conceptualizing, the early work has flashes of what Kodwo Eshun has called 'jazz fission'--the exciting category breakdowns that briefly occurred in the early '70s before the music got codified as 'fusion.' Better examples can be found in McLaughlin's earlier work with Tony Williams, but people really need to cut the MahaOrch some slack, 'cause there's good stuff there, too." --Theodor Adorno

"One might have hoped that several decades after the '70s, cultural differences would had telescoped down to where early McLaughlin and later punk groups such as the Bad Brains would be seen as emanating from much the same place, tapping into the same motivations. Unfortunately the lines between "prog" and "punk" are just as sharply drawn today as they were 30 years ago, at least to a certain kind of asshole who can't see past obvious marketing differences and actually, like, listen to music." --T.A.

- tom moody 4-10-2006 11:41 pm [link]