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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2012
Why doesn't Columbia-Legacy Recordings get their act together and remaster this entire concert, which they obviously have soundboard tapes of? The full concert exists and has been extensively bootlegged. You know their trucks were there and the tape was running! They released remastered editions of both "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds of Fire", along with the studio sketches based upon these live jams on "The Lost Trident Sessions". I saw MO live in the late fall of 1973, just before Johnny Mac broke up the band, and possess multiple sound-board recordings from their extensive '72 and '73 tours. None of the officially released studio recordings come close to capturing or reproducing the raw power and incendiary musicianship of this band seen live. The recording companies who made millions off MO "back in the day" owe both initiated and uninitiated fans, and the band itself, that much in the form of a bona fide, "official live" tribute. Come on, guys!!!!!!
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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.
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on 9 September 2010
This was my first Mahavishnu Orchestra album, and although I've got most of their other albums all of which are very good, there is nothing to compare with the raw power of this performance. It's worth buying for "Trilogy" and "Sister Andrea" alone.

The longer piece "Dream" starts off well but tends to get a bit bogged down and messy here and there, however the guitar and drum interplay is amazing and goes a long way to salvaging it. The highpoint is John McLaughlin's solo on "Sister Andrea" which is brilliant. The whole album catches the Mahavishnu Orchestra on an inspired night and has breathtaking moments of emotional impact that just aren't captured on the other studio albums, it does have its flaws too but that is acceptable in a live concert.

It would be unfair to compare this album to the more recently discovered "Trident Sessions", this is just a different experience.
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on 19 August 2009
when you have forgotten or want to forget what day it is....put this on for a fast and furious trip arround the universe. When you get back you may want to put on one of the old hawkwind lps.
warning this is too fast for jazz! can they really do that that fast?
i recommend a trip without tripping, enjoy.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 March 2015
Jazz-Rock/ Fusion what ever the label attached to this music hybrid has only excited interest from a minority of listeners. Fans point to the virtuosity of performance -speed . tricky rhythms and intensity as the defining characteristics of the form. Critics suggest that despite the high level of schooled technique the music generally favours exhibitionism over ear friendly melodies and structure. Well 'Between Nothingness and Eternity' could in a way stand as evidence for and against the prosecution.

My take on this album is that the individual playing and group ensemble work is nothing short of phenomenal. To hear for instance John McLaughlin trading licks with keyboard player Jan Hammer is to know what real musicianship means. Other commentators have suggested that a remastering and the adding of extra tracks from the concert is surely due and I agree. The album with only three tracks in its current form feels too slanted towards extended improvisation. There is also a feeling that as the level of intensity grows there is seldom any room for the listener to relax. The live sound is a little muddy, which causes McLaughlin's guitar to sound lacking in tone on occasion. This is especially important as the great man is such a precise player that any lack of aural definition will obscure the subtly along with the power that he demonstrates in his solo playing.

So the album is a definite must buy for the fans of the genre even given its minor faults.
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on 12 March 2013
Either you like this sort of music, or it sends you running from the room. For me it is unique and I think exciting. You may find the first track starts very quietly, but soon bursts into full flower. This being a short live album is the nearest you can get to being at a concert, but Between Nothingness & Eternity is a good substitute and captures the moment.
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on 11 August 2009
This is the 'lost album' material recorded live, and it's far better than the studio version. Of course it's not 'The Inner Mounting Flame' or 'Birds of Fire' which will always be this group's (and John McLaughlin's) finest work (some of his Miles Davis stuff's pretty good though). Get those two first. If you're only going to get one, get 'Birds of Fire'. For my money, jazz rock, or 'fusion' begins and ends with this music.
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on 30 October 2012
This album now has a companion blue volume of other tracks taken from the same concert available for download in the US but not the UK. Given the absence of legitimate live recordings of this band other than than BNAE when are we going to get it?
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on 12 December 2013
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on 6 June 2013
Wonderful jazz. For me a reminder of times past but it is, like all true jazz, right up to date.
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