This album, recorded in New York City's Central Park in the summer of 1973, is the only `non-bootleg' live recording now available of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra quintet: John McLaughlin on guitar, Jerry Goodman on violin, Jan Hammer on keyboards, Rick Laird on bass and the incomparable Billy Cobham on drums.
Fans generally rate this album alongside `The Inner Mounting Flame' and `Birds of Fire' for musical passion, tight high-speed playing, improvisational virtuosity and musical complexity. BNAE contains only three extended pieces - `Trilogy', `Sister Andrea' and `Dream' - and if you've never heard it, it'll knock your socks off.
However, BNAE falls short in two areas: the musical compositions are neither as tightly arranged nor as punchy and distinctive as on the band's studio albums; and the sound quality, recorded in the open air in 1973, is far from exemplary and has a roughness you won't hear on the studio recordings. This doesn't diminish the music too much, which as always with this line-up (the best-ever fusion band in history?) is beyond excellent; frenzied improvisational genius at work with a passion which takes your breath away. The more you listen to it, the more you'll get to know it, the more you'll like it.
You can hear the (shorter) studio recordings of `Trilogy', `Sister Andrea' and `Dream' on `The Lost Trident Sessions' album where the sound quality is up to the standard of the band's other studio album releases and this makes a good complement to BNAE. Remarkably, TLTS wasn't released until 1999, but was worth the wait - so my advice is, get them both.