Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
on 19 May 2010
Just for a second, as Mark Mondesir's drums kick-start Discovery, I had an M-Base flashback. But pretty quickly it's McLaughlin's scalding electric guitar that takes the lead, not Steve Coleman's alto sax. And the groove pretty soon escapes any M-Base resemblance and settles down into a McLaughlin style, though by no means a rerun of the past, just a progression from it.
Aside from the man who for me has always personified fusion guitar and the drummer once described by Courtney Pine, in the liner notes for 1988's Destiny's Song, as "futuristic", we also have the multi-talented Gary Husband and bassist Etienne M'Bappe, who maintains a growling undertone for most of the set which gives much of it a rich sound texture.
Some of the guitaring has a whiff of the old Mahavishnu about it - fret-burning fusillades of notes - and that's what ultimately makes this such a worthwhile enterprise.
Of the two tracks featuring synth-guitar, Lost And Found is the stronger, mainly due to Husband, who provides backbone with some atmospheric piano and organ. The other, To The One, is a nice tune, but the tone of the synth-guitar here drives the piece in the direction of the cocktail lounge.
At only 40 minutes long, about the norm for one of your old style 12-inch pieces of circular vinyl 40 years ago when I first heard Mahavishnu Orchestra, this is quite a short collection.
Still, as the authors of my copy of the Penguin Guide to Jazz say in explaining the lack of timings shown on record reviews, it's the quality that counts.