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Birds of Fire & Mahavishnu Orchestra

From Birds of Fire (1973). Epic album, considered more jazz-rock than fusion.

John McLaughlin (guitar), Billy Cobham (drums), Jerry Goodman (violin), Jan Hammer (keyboards), Rick Laird (bass). According to the neat Wikipedia entry “List of musical works in unusual time signiatures,” the meter of this song is 18/8 (or 18/16). But it’s more complicated than that because the instruments break it up differently:

Guitar plays 5+5+5+3 while drums play 6+6+6. Violin from time to time plays 3+3+2+3+3+2+2.

The wobbling and conflicting meters help to give this track that crashing, lopsided, Apocalyptic vibe. But McLaughlin’s scratchy, fuzzed-out back-up arpeggios and the screeching solos help a lot there, too, along with Billy Cobham’s drum orgy.

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One response to “Birds of Fire & Mahavishnu Orchestra

  1. Pingback: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Miles Beyond | What Do You Do for an Encore?

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