Back in 1971, the future of music was a hybrid of Rock, Jazz and Classical. Alot of groups were doing various combinations of things; prog rock combined classical and rock, for example. But for my money, the forefront of this movement was a band called the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The music was called “Fusion”.
Run by guitarist John McLaughlin, the M.O. pushed the limits of what was possible for a live band to do. The writing, performing and recordings were second to none. If you’ve never heard of them, you owe it to yourself to check them out. They helped define the music of a generation – my generation. Learn HERE.
Right around 11th grade in High School, we got the “book”. This was the McLaughlin Book – containing, in score form, the first four albums of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. My musician friends and I in high school spent many, many – I mean many – hours, working through every inch of that book. Trying every tune; re-arranging things, re-orchestrating, and just having an incredible time of it all. I learned a lot from that experience. I continued to play this music with whoever I could find for the next 18 years, often playing to empty room after empty room and getting turned down for gigs left and right. Seemed like no one wanted to hear this music. “Fusion” had become a “dirty” word. Too bad.
I finally walked away from that sound & style in 1997, concentrating on finding my voice in a new world. This finally happened in 2005, when I had a Eureka moment, and I realized how I could combine all my diverse influences into one thriving, growing musical unit – NAIL.
But – life isn’t finished throwing those wonderful curves yet. Through a convoluted series of events which included 10 years on the road with “the Machine” (those who know me know about that), I find myself receiving a phone call from Gregg Bendian, drummer and bandleader of a group called – and here’s where it gets interesting – the “Mahavishnu Project“. Well, having practically lived and breathed this music for so many years, I jumped at the chance. We’ve played 2 shows so far; I can only describe the experience as surreal. Going back and playing this stuff – it fells like I’m falling backwards through time. But the audience is there – now more then ever, perhaps, as new generations discover this (what I always thought of as amazing) music.
Anyway, enough rambling for now – I will keep you all posted.
As always, thanks for listening –