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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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Back in the day I can remember being fascinated by the Eastern mysticism of Mediation Guru SRI CHINMOY whose name began to appear with almost Godlike reverence on Santana, Robert Flack and Mahavishnu Orchestra albums around about 1972 and 1973 (with his followers having a penchant for dressing in heavenly white). Rock-Jazz-Fusion had been gaining ground on CTI, Atlantic, Douglas and Columbia/CBS since 1970 and instrumental in this was England's fusion guitar sensation JOHN McLAUGHLIN and his band THE MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA (Maha the Creator - Vishnu the Preserver).

Beat Goes On put out these albums in the Eighties, Sony's own Legacy CD reissues then turned up in 1991 and there's been others since. Well along comes BGO again to whet your appetite once more with a brand new 2014 remaster by ANDREW THOMPSON - and stompingly good it is too. Here's the Devadip inner oneness direct from the fountain of babbling knobosity...

UK released September 2014 - "Between Nothing & Eternity/Visions Of The Emerald Beyond" by THE MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1161 (Barcode 5017261211613) gives us two straightforward albums remastered onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (42:07 minutes):
1. Trilogy: The Sunlit Path, La Mere De La Mer, Tomorrow’s Story Not The Same
2. Sister Andrea [Side 2]
3. Dream
Tracks 1 to 3 are their 3rd album "Between Nothing & Eternity" - released December 1973 in the USA on Columbia Records KC 32766 and January 1974 in the UK on CBS Records S 69046 (42:07 minutes). The LP was recorded 'live' in August 1973 in New York's Central Park and featured JOHN McLAUGHLIN on Lead Guitar, JAN HAMMER on Piano and Moog, JERRY GOODMAN on Violin, RICK LAIRD on Bass with BILLY COBHAM on Drums. It rose to Number 43 on the American album charts.

Disc 2 (40:17 minutes):
1. Eternity’s Breath Part 1
2. Eternity’s Breath Part 2
3. Lila’s Dance
4. Can’t Stand Your Funk
5. Pastoral
6. Faith
7. Cosmic Strut
8. If I Could See
9. Be Happy
10. Earth Ship
11. Pegasus
12. Opus
13. On The Way Home To earth
Tracks 1 to 13 are their 5th album "Visions Of The Emerald Beyond" - released January 1975 in the USA on Columbia PC 33411 and CBS Records 69108 in the UK. It made Number 68 in the US Albums chart. Many more musicians supplemented the band - namely JEAN-LUC PONTY- who brought his electric violin to the proceedings. All songs on Disc 1 and 2 written by JOHN McLAUGHLIN except “Cosmic Strut” by NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN

There's a classy card wrap/slipcase on the outside and equally superb liner notes by noted Jazz writer CHARLES WARING (Mojo, Record Collector) in the substantial 20-page booklet. ANDREW THOMPSON did the new 2014 Remasters and they’re typically clear and full of presence – the dense instrumental passages now breathing anew...

Taking its name from the last lines in a 1972 Sri Chinmoy poem called "My Flute" - the live "Between Nothingness & Eternity" LP was amazingly consistent despite the crazy the length of the three tracks (one taking up a whole side). The opener "Trilogy" (The Sunlit Path/La Mere De La Mere/Tomorrow's Story Not The Same) has beautiful guitar passages - a melodic trippy opening seguing into Fusion and back again. "Sister Andrea" is the same while the sidelong "Dream" sees McLaughlin trade licks and keys with Hammer in a wonderfully musical dance of virtuoso playing. Even now its impressive stuff and given the venue - so well recorded by Engineer TIM GEELAN.

By the time they reached album number five "Visions Of The Emerald Beyond" in mid 1975 - JEAN-LUC PONTY (ex Zappa's Mothers) brought his distinctive electric violin playing to the cosmic stew. The opening duo of Parts 1 and 2 of "Eternal Breath" are amazing Jazz Rock with Keyboardist GAYLE MORAN and Violinist CAROL SHRIVE adding suitably wailing backing vocals. You're also hit once again with the gorgeous production values - the swirling guitar treatments of "Lila's Dance" and the Jeff Beck "Blow By Blow" choppy rhythms in "Can't Stand Your Funk". Thompson is to be praised for a really fantastic sounding remaster. It all gets a bit hippy-dip with the vocal on "If I Could See" but comes back strong with the mellow keyboard and flute vibe of "Earth Ship". Again Jeff Beck's nasty Rock Funk is in evidence on the stabbing rhythms of "Cosmic Strut" - the only non John McLaughlin song on the album - penned by the then 22-year old drummer Michael Walden (soon to become funk's Narada on Atlantic Records).

It's been decades since I played these albums and while you could do without the metaphysical waffling - the playing is still striking, innovative and at times downright extraordinary. A superb little reissue and recommended...
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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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on 15 August 2015
An excellent package of two superb jazz fusion albums. Over the years a lot has been said about the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the only thing I wish to add is that these two albums, which are totally different in style, compliment each other and are in my view two of the best albums by this excellent band. The sound quality of the re-master is pretty good too.
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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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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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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 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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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 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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