Site hosted by Build your free website today!
MO Release - The Lost Trident Sessions
Info and Reviews
Go to Sony's websight, who released the CD click here
Read a review of LTS click here
Check's LTS page and add your feedback click here
To hear samples of the new record click here
To read the liner notes   click here
Go back to my JML page click here


John McLaughlin's Reaction to the new release:

Excerpt from "John McLaughlin: Spheres of Influence"
Interview date: June 28, 1999 © Copyright 1999 by Anil Prasad.
Note: the full interview  is located at:

Q: The long-lost Mahavishnu Trident sessions were finally authorized for release and are about to come out on Sony. Any thoughts on that?

JML: I didnít authorize them! I donít have any power whatsoever over these people, letís get this clear right away. They do precisely what they want. They donít care what I want or donít want. They are essentially the owner of the tape and I am a secondary consideration. Itís as simple as that. Thatís the way record companies are, but we need them. But Iím delighted because itís a wonderful recording and they are idiots for losing the tapes and not releasing them a long time ago. Maybe itís a blessing in disguise because itís a great studio recording from 1972óthatís a long time ago. It has a great analog sound. In fact, there was another recording made of the Mahavishnu Orchestra live in Cleveland, Ohio in 1971 by CBS who are Sony now. Itís great and I would love it if they would release it as a recording. It was a phenomenal night. I asked them "Why donít you do it? Itís great!" But they say "Yeah, maybe, yes, no, butÖ" So, they do what they wantówhatever they want.

(Excerpt from the liner notes)
I was very happy, actually, with the lost album," says McLaughlin in retrospect. "Of course, by the time we finished that recording, there was a lot of dissonance in the band, discontent...just really shit. What a shame. But I have a tendency to forget the bad things. I remember the good things. And we made some unbelievable music. We had some nights that were colossal...just amazing, phenomenal! And I've got that...these memories in my mind. And I'm happy with that."

Billy Cobham's Reaction to the new release:

Posted at Billy Cobham's forum by boomer (Billy's internet nickname) on September 01, 1999 at 03:31:54)
In Reply to: Trident posted by Gary Norris from on August 31, 1999 at 13:47:02:
: To anyone, not necessarily Billy.
: What exactly are the Trident sessions?

In the mid 70's the M.O. recorded what was to be it's 3rd studio album at Trident recording studios in London. I don't believe that those facilities exist anymore.........Anyway, the sessions were never completed and a live recording named "From Nothingness to Eternity" came out in place of these taped sessions. Then, for some strange reason, the tapes were "misplaced" and or forgotten for a long time although, I hear that bootleg versions have come out, and now, 'low and behold' the real tapes have been "unearthed" WOW!!!!!!!!

There is a link to Billy's forum at:
His email address is:

This is an email I recieved one day:
From USA , September 30, 1999
Neil Kernon (

I am a record producer, and I was lucky enough to have worked on this (and 3 other) Mahavishnu albums. I'm from London, and was working at Trident Studios. The tapes from this session were truly lost. I was contacted earlier this year by Jan Hammer's manager who had wanted to gather info on the possible whereabouts of the masters. He was working with Jan in London at the time of the sessions, so he was well aware of their existence, even from memory. Mahavishnu still remains one of my favourite bands, and to have this rarity finally see the light of day brought a tear to my eye.'s so great to hear this again!!

Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000

Hello. This is Elliott Sears. I was the original Mahavishnu Orchestra's road manager and sound engineer from the band's inception in August 1971 until its last show on December 30, 1973, in Toledo, Ohio. Afterwards I continued to work with John until April 1975 while simultaneously managing Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, which I continued to do for the past 25 years.

I also was the person responsible for releasing The Lost Trident Sessions. I had tape copies in my possession since July 5, 1973 and first played them for Sony Legacy in December 1998. They had absolutely no idea that they existed.


Elliott Sears

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000
Subject: More Mahavishnu (Reply letter)

The original MO recorded numerous shows on multitrack tape (Cleveland 4/72, Buffalo 12/72, NY Felt Forum 3/16/73, Santa Monica 3/25/73 and several more) also several of the television shows were recorded on multitrack tape. Most of these tapes rest in the Sony vaults. It is completely and totally their decision as to, if and when they are released. Here's what's on the slate; Birds of Fire was remastered (20 bit, etc.) with new photos interviews etc. It was to come out last fall but was pushed back because of the LTS album.

However, it should be out by June or July. Public opinion and sales will dictate Sony's decision to release the live material. Pressure in the form of letters and e-mail from MO fans to Sony Legacy can't hurt. My best guess is that by years end at the earliest or hopefully not later than the summer of 2001 they will put out a double live set. Sony has a huge catalog going back 50 years and they release what they feel is appropriate for the time. We'll probably see all of Santana's old albums re-released as soon as possible so they can cash in on his recent success. Mahavishnu product will surface but it really depends on the success of the LTS and the re-release of BOF.


I wrote to the email address listed on the LTS liner notes one day and recieved this:

I don't work for Sony. I worked with the band from its inception to its demise and have worked with the various members for the past 25 years. Also, there is no official MO web site.

With regrads to more material. Sony has approx. 6-7 complete shows on multi-track tape, which would make for at least a 2 CD Live album, if not more. However, the band and I are not the owners of the masters - Sony is. It would be in our mutual best interest if you and others would write Sony directly and tell them of your interest in hearing and buying (that's what they want to hear) more unreleased Mahavishnu material.

I would write to the director of Jazz at Sony/Legacy (Seth Rothstein)
or to the VP of A&R at Sony Legacy (Steve Berkowitz):

Sony Legacy
550 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Spread the word!
Thanks for your interest.


Recorded during a brief stop over in London on June 25, 1973, these unprepossessing studio performances, despite (or maybe because of) the heavy compression (particularly on the drums) and a mixed-on-the-fly feel, convey far more of the edgy, go-for-broke energy, ferocious solo intensity, and telepathic interplay of Mahavishnu's peak 1973 live shows than their only live album (the August 12, 1973, Central Park performance caught on Between Nothingness & Eternity).

McLaughlin's extended forms, "Dream" and "Trilogy," are made up of hyper kinetic blues vamps, classical elements from both the Western art music and Carnatic traditions,shifting minor modes and complex rhythmic cycles, while keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea" adds a welcome touch of funk to the formula. Unreleased tunes by violinist Jerry Goodman and bassist Rick Laird shed new light on their contributions to the band's overall repertoire, and everyoneplays like their life depends on it--no one more so than Billy Cobham, whose ability to swing rock rhythms and depict a wide range of dynamicnuances is simply remarkable. Cobham's ferocious exchanges with the guitarist walk the line between Hendrix-style psychedelia and Coltrane-like dervish dances. A thrilling snapshot of fusion's musical possibilities beforeit all went sour. --Chip Stern

Jazziz Magazine:

Fusion fans rejoice! Columbia Records is finally issuing The LostTrident Sessions, long-lost tapes of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra (guitarist McLaughlin, violinist Jerry Goodman, keyboardist Jan Hammer, bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Billy Cobham). Rumors of the 1973 sessions have circulated for years, but the actual tapes were only recently discovered in Columbia's vault. According to Hammer, the tapes find the band at its peak. The band was really, absolutely working on all 12 cylinders at that point, he says. --JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright 1999, Milor Entertainment, Inc.

From Sony's websight:

Missing for 30 years, "lost" masters for final studio album are discovered! The holy grail of fusion . . . . . . completes the Mahavishnu story! The mythic and much-rumored 1973 follow-up to Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire . . . will now be released by Columbia/Legacy on September 21st for very first time!

Since the inception of the CD, with its significantly lengthier playing time, it is hardly news when a record company issues previously-unreleased material by major artists. But it is news when a label unearths an entire, long-buried album by a band that at the time this music was recorded, both defined its idiom and achieved impressive sales figures, particularly for a non-rock group.

Such is the case with the singularly brilliant Mahavishnu Orchestra, led by the virtuoso guitarist-composer John McLaughlin (b. 1942), which in just two years -- 1971-'73 -- upped the amperage in jazz as never before and attracted a mass audience that had been for the most part heretofore untapped. Yet, the startling music comprising The Lost Trident Sessions (recorded in London in 1973) sat in a CBS Records tape vault for more than 25 years until it was discovered quite by accident.

For the Mahavishnu/McLaughlin legions who have continued to keep the (inner mounting) flame, this disc's appearance amounts to, as Bill Milkowski avers in his liner notes, "as important a find as the Dead Sea Scrolls." The faithful know that those sentiments are in no way hyperbolic.

Suddenly, the recorded studio output of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra has been increased by one-third. Once again, they flawlessly execute speed-of-light ensembles of terrifying rhythmic complexity, informed by Indian music, Stravinsky, and the most advanced jazz improvisation and rock sonics. There are times when the listener will swear that McLaughlin's double-necked guitar is overdubbed, when in fact, it is being shadowed as closely as possible by Jan Hammer's keyboards or Jerry Goodman' electric violin.

There is a duet between the guitarist and drummer Billy Cobham, their work every bit as exhilarating as it was the second it was captured on tape, suggesting the great Ravi Shankar's sitar in a dialogue with Alla Rakha's tablas. There are guitar sounds that, as producer Belden notes, "every heavy metal guy wanted to play but didn't have the chops." And, also very much in the Mahavishnu Orchestra tradition, there are passages of surpassing, mountain-lake beauty.

The Lost Trident Sessions album is more than worth the wait.

Columbia Records Newsflash:

In a startling discovery, Sony has unearthed a missing third studio album by the seminal and most influential fusion band of the early '70s, TheMahavishnu Orchestra. Plans are to release THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS (CK 65959)on September 21, completing a trilogy of studio albums for Columbia Records by the original and most formidable Mahavishnu lineup of John McLaughlin on guitar, Billy Cobham on drums, Jerry Goodman on violin, Jan Hammer on keyboard sand Rick Laird on bass. Debuting in 1971 with the ground breaking Inner Mounting Flame , the Orchestra followed with the gold-selling Birds Of Fire in 1972. A third studio album, recorded in June of 1973 at Trident Studios in London, was finished but never released by the band.

Bootleg copies have cropped up around the world over the years [some were dubbed The Holy Grail to further entice hardcore fans and collectors but only recently has anyone endeavored to locate the long missing tapes of that fabled third Mahavishnu studio session. In February of 1999, while in the midst of gathering up tapes for a Columbia Legacy remastering and reissuing of Birds Of Fire, producer/archivist Bob Belden came across two extra unmarked quarter inch tapes that had been lying in Columbia's Los Angeles vault. These mysterious tapes indicated thatthey had been recorded in London but no other information was provided. After a bit of sleuthing, Belden realized he had stumbled upon a major find. Thesewere in fact the two-track mixes of THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS, what was to have been the Mahavishnu Orchestra's third studio album for Columbia Records. The Orchestra had been constantly touring from the outset of 1973 andwas at the peak of its communicative powers when it slipped into Trident Studiosin London on June 25th of 1973 to record its third studio album.

As keyboardist Jan Hammer notes, a quarter of a century after the fact, "The band wasreally, absolutely working on all 12 cylinders at that point." A significant difference in this third studio project is the presence of compositions from Hammer, Goodman and Laird. While McLaughlin had been sole composer on both Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire , Goodman contributes "I Wonder," Hammer contributes "Sister Andrea" and Laird contributes"Stepping Tones" to complement three McLaughlin compositions -- the suite-like"Dream" and the hyper-drive jamming vehicle "Trilogy," both of which the band had been performing in concert, and his more serene piece "John's Song #2." Rather than offering the completed album to Columbia for release, the band members opted to shelve it and instead deliver the live Between Nothingness And Eternity (recorded on August 5, 1973 in Central Park as part of the Schaefer Festival) to the label for their third release. With a live album released and another studio album in the can, The Mahavishnu Orchestra continued to tour relentlessly. Their itinerary was exhaustive -- six weeks of continuous one-nighters, which took its toll on the band members emotionally, physically and spiritually, only adding stress to the group's already fragile dynamic.

Although their musical chemistry remaine dintact on stage, the band was gradually unraveling on an interpersonal level. Hammer acknowledges that there were indeed tensions within the band, just as there were tensions over the years within the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. "Oh yeah, just like a marriage, you know," says Jan. "It wasn't an easy gig for any of us," acknowledges Laird, "not just the challenge of the music but also the interpersonal aspects of the band.We all have our own defects to deal with. We were all young and it all went very fast. Nat Weiss was a powerful manager with a lot of experience in the field and he moved things forward very aggressively. And I don't think any of usrealized in the beginning how fast it was going to go, that we'd be selling out major concert halls and featured top of the bill. You know, it just happened so quickly.""We just got sick of each other," says Hammer in retrospect. "The band just exploded, then imploded...into smithereens."

Unable to resolve the conflicts that had been brewing for so long, the five agreed to disband at the end of the year. They played two nights in New York at Avery Fisher Hall on December 27th and 28th then flew to Detroit toplay the Masonic Auditorium on December 29th. They performed their farewell concert on December 31st at the Sport Arena in Toledo, Ohio.

McLaughlin instantly formed an expanded edition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra that featured Michael Walden on drums, Ralph Armstrong on bass, Jean-LucPonty on violin and Gayle Moran on keyboards and vocals. Their 1974 album Apocalypse featured the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and was produced by George Martin of Beatles fame. "I was very happy, actually, with the lost album," says McLaughlin in retrospect. "Of course, by the time we finished that recording there was a lot of dissonance and discontent in the band. What a shame. But I have atendency to forget the bad things. I remember the good things. And we made someunbelievable music. We had some nights that were colossal...just amazing, phenomenal! And I've got that...these memories in my mind. And I'm happy with that." "The personal negatives that we were involved with are of much lessimportance than the actual music, which survives us," adds Hammer. "That's really all that matters."With THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS , the Mahavishnu Orchestra had reached the peakof its volatile powers ... and very possibly the apex of the entire fusion movement. Recd from Colombia records Daily Dish Aug 25th

The Lost Trident Sessions
Mahavishnu Orchestra (Columbia Legacy)

Review by By Christopher Hoard ( from the websight: all about jazz

This lost-in-the-vault-for-26-years session represents the near-impossible fusion archivist's dream: to find a complete studio release by the fusion era's seminal band at the very height of the creative powers (and the height of tension between members off the stage). Most musicians and fans who remember the force and tides of change generated by John McLaughlin's greatest ensemble will agree this one was worth the wait.

Engineered by 70's production legend, Ken Scott, the tracks and takes have at times a rough, raw and unfinished edge -- but it doesn't matter. Why this album is so critical to the fusion canon is that it captures the frenzy of a band about to break up, but still at their creative peak -- and particularly with compositional contributions from members such as bassis Rick Laird and violinist Jerry Goodman -- which showcase their monstrous improvisational (and writing) capabilities, which were too dominated by McLaughlin in earlier releases. Jan Hammer demonstrates his prowess on Rhodes piano and mini-moog, and reminds us once again, that little has been accomplished in jazz with electronic keyboards that improves upon what Hammer routinely unleashed upon audiences in 1973.

Featured here are two fine extended mega-jams/suites by McLaughlin, who's playing and exchanges with Cobham's drumming runs the gamut from serene and subtle to molten ferocity. Bill Milkowski's liner notes, featuring comments from all the band members offer a healthy dose of musical history and perspective on one jazz's most revolutionary ensembles. It's also a reminder that since this time, rock-influenced instrumental jazz has rarely risen to the level of interplay and inspiration heard here. The Lost Trident Sessions offers us a veritable rendering of fusion's equivalent to the "Lost Sea Scrolls."


Mahavishnu Orchestra

To believe the hype that accompanies the release of The Lost Trident Sessions is to believe that a misplaced album from 26 years ago by the original Mahavishnu Orchestra would be of the same significance as previously unknown recordings by, say, Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, the beatles, Miles Davis or John Coltrane. The flaw in this breathless logic is simple: While Johnson et al. made music that has stood the test of time, the Mahavishnu Orchestra's bombastic fusion of jazz and rock has dated badly.

The Lost Trident Sessions would have been the quintet's third LP had the tapes not been shelved and forgotten amid the confusion created by the imminent and apparently acrimonious parting of guitarist John McLaughlin, violinist Jerry Goodman, keyboard player Jan Hammer, bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Cobham.

McLaughlin subsequently formed two other versions of the band, but the first remains the definitive one. While its first two LPs, Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire, may still hold some sentimental value - who can forget the sheer exhilaration of hearing Cobham power the band through 17/8 at lightning speed for the first time? - The Lost Trident Sessions has no such nostalgic appeal.

There are no revelations here. The music is typically shrill and frantic - fusion at its most primal, despite a few reflective overtures and interludes along the way. The rhythms are heavy, the riffing heavier, and the McLaughlin, Goodman and Hammer solos so grimly virtuosic that they begin to sound silly from today's vantage point, especially when coloured by wah-wah pedalling and electric keyboards that fairly scream "1973."

- M.M.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Lost Trident Sessions (Columbia/Legacy 65959)
Review by Billboard Online

The originator of a smart, scorching brand of jazz/rock fusion in the early '70s, the initial Mahavishnu Orchestra was wildly successful and still firing on all cylinders when embattled egos and tour-frayed nerves caused the group to disintegrate prematurely. Guitarist John McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman, bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Billy Cobham left behind just two epochal studio albums and a live-wire concert set. Or that was all there was until Legacy producer Bob Belden hit a mother lode last year while preparing the first albums for reissue. He found the Mahavishnu album recorded in London's Trident Studios in 1973 that was left unreleased and forgotten with the quintet's dissolution. It was an incredible find, as the set brims with the Mahavishnu's patented high-octane virtuosity. McLaughlin, in particular, has never sounded better than he does here, in full metallic flight. Even after a quarter-century, there are few bands that rock like this one.

Better late than never, right? That's what the members of '70s rock/jazz fusionists the Mahavishnu Orchestra are saying. The band's long lost third album, The Lost Trident Sessions, will finally be making its way into the CD racks on Sept. 21 on Columbia/Legacy -- some 27 years after it was recorded.

Formed by British guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin in 1971, the Orchestra recorded two albums (1971's Inner Mounting Flame and 1972's Birds of Fire), and one live album (1973's Between Nothingness and Eternity), before bickering over composing credits broke up the band. In June of 1973, however, the band recorded what was to be their third album at Trident Studios in London. As a result of the breakup, the album was never released and has been hidden away in Colombia's Los Angeles vault ever since.

Unlike the band's first two albums, Trident features compositions from additional members in the band, including violinist Jerry Goodman's "I Wonder," keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," and bassist Rick Laird's "Stepping Stone."

Bootlegged versions of the album have surfaced over the years, some under the name The Holy Grail, but this marks the first official release of the record ever.

Three of the five band members went on to have successful careers after the break-up of the group -- Billy Cobham made lots of hit fusion albums in the '70s; Jan Hammer wrote the music for Miami Vice and played with Jeff Beck; and of course John McLaughlin formed Shakti. After the original Mahavishnu Orchestra broke up, McLaughlin made a couple more albums under the name Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Mahavishnu Orchestra's The Lost Trident Sessions is finally being released, and for fusion fans, it's as if a previously unheard Beatles album just hit the stores. Since this jazz-rock supergroup (guitarist John McLaughlin, drummer Billy Cobham, keyboardist Jan Hammer, bassist Rick Laird, and violinist Jerry Goodman) made only two studio albums, this never-released 1973 set is a fabled treasure. Mahavishnus' dramatic, elaborate soundscapes typify opening cut "Dream," with its frenzied, Eastern-influenced riffery and throbbing funk passages. What should have been a vinyl side one concludes with the suite "Trilogy," which features a folkish melody rolling around in the band's electronic mesh and a paint-peeling hard-rock groove. Goodman's "I Wonder" provides a concentrically circling platform for exquisite guitar, drum, and synthesizer soloing, and "John's Song" is tense and hypnotic. The ironfisted timbres of Hammer's "Sister Andrea," like some of the album's material, was featured on the group's live album, Between Nothingness & Eternity, recorded just weeks later.

The Trident Sessions languished in a vault for years because the band couldn't agree on its quality. If Mahavishnu's fans were given their say, the album would never have been lost in the first place.

Review by Ken_Micallef from

Like Deep Purple jamming with Dizzy Gillespie, the Mahavishnu Orchestra fused rock flame with jazz brains. Released after years of availability as a U.K. bootleg, The Lost Trident Sessions was to be the final album from the original lineup of these '70s jazz-rock innovators.

Like Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire before it, The Lost Trident Sessions is a classic. Three of the tracks, "Dream," "Trilogy," and Jan Hammer's dark "Sister Andrea" appeared on the live album Between Nothingness And Eternity, but the studio versions are even more staggering (and much more listenable). Billy Cobham's powerfully complex drumming and Hammer's innovative Moog synth interplay with John McLaughlin's proto-metal/ jazz guitar remain some of the most blistering improvisations ever set to tape. There are also three new songs: Violinist Jerry Goodman's "I Wonder" begins softly, then ignites with acid rock guitar, a Cobham squall, and a menacing Hammer solo. Bassist Rick Laird's Indian-tinged "Stepping Stones" is a bit dull, but the final track, "John's Song #2," sounds like heavy-metal jungle, a dizzying firestorm of combustible funk and devilish melodies.

Like a Dead Sea scroll full of arcane wisdom, this uncovered gem reveals a language that is now lost in an era of smooth jazz and commercial trad-core.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA ē The Lost Trident Sessions ē Columbia/Legacy (CK 65959)
Review by David Dorkin of Fuse Magazine Online

Here it is at last: the lost third studio disc from the original line-up of the Mahavisnhu Orchestra. Well worth the wait (26 years!), this disc is one of the finest releases from the early years of fusion and not just a historical curiosity. In fact, this may be John McLaughlin (guitar), Jerry Goodman (violin), Jan Hammer (keys), Billy Cobham (drums) and bassist Rick Laird's finest hour in the studio together. From the opening tune "Dream", an eleven minute polyrythmic tour de force, to the varied textures and sections of "Trilogy", this disc demonstrates just how exciting and innovative this group really was. It is difficult to single out any one track as the disc is so uniformly excellent and full of tight ensemble playing, well articulated counterpoint, and brilliant soloing. Any serious Fuse reader should own this. Recommended.

"Lost Trident Sessions" from the Mahavishnu Orchestra - a must for all Fusion fans!
Review by by Howard Hart of HHGI Online Magazine

Let's say your favorite band is Led Zeppelin... or perhaps you're a jazz guy, and totally into Miles Davis... or maybe you're nuts over Cream, and... well, you get the idea. What if one of your all-time favorite artist's had recorded an entire full length album of all new material (no out-takes, filler, or sub-standard stuff), had mixed and mastered it; then, because of personal problems within the group, simply never released it? - Well, that's exactly what "The Lost Trident Sessions" represent to fusion fans the world over.

This was supposed to be the Mahavishnu Orchestra's 3rd release... the follow-up to the monumental "Birds Of Fire", which literally re-wrote the book on what could be done with the jazz/rock/fusion concept... And things would never be the same again!

Because of discord within the band itself, it was decided to shelve the album (they broke up shortly thereafter...) - and the live album "Between Nothingness & Eternity" was released to fill the contractual obligation to Columbia Records. Although the live album was certainly wonderful in its own respect... the truth is that The Trident Sessions kick its little butt from here to eternity. The band is functioning on full-throttle; tighter than ever, more cohesive, and just plain killing thru-out this entire disc.

From the moody opening of "Dream", with it's beautiful interplay between McLaughlin and Goodman, to the stunning "Trilogy", with all its fire and passion - this outting is extraordinary. One of the coolest things about this particular release is the compositional contributions of the other members (something which hadn't occured on the previous 2 releases). Each and every track is excellently composed, realized and performed.

John McLaughlin's closing contribution "John's Song #2" is like nothing you've ever heard in this universe! This cut, in particular, hints at the eventual musical territory McLaughlin would explore with the second incarnation of the Orchestra before delving heavily into the Eastern explorations of Shakti... and the dynamic interplay between McLaughlin and drummer Billy Cobham thru-out the entire album is just incredible.

Needless to say, this would have been a much more fitting follow-up to "Birds Of Fire", and undoubtedly would have placed an already legendary outfit into the realm of "super-gods"... If you loved the Mahavishnu Orchestra, or haven't yet discovered them - you'll wanna check this release out.

Review by Richie Unterberger from

Recorded in London on June 25, 1973, these sessions for a planned third Mahavishnu Orchestra album were shelved when the band decided to put out the live Between Nothingness and Eternity instead. Bootlegged in the past, two-track mixes of the missing album were discovered in the vaults in the late 1990s, paving the way for its official release in 1999. It's thus the last of the three studio albums done by the original Mahavishnu lineup (with Cobham on drums, Goodman on violin, Hammer on keyboards and Laird on bass). Although McLaughlin had been the only composer on the first two Mahavishnu albums, he only penned half of the six tracks here, with Goodman, Hammer and Laird pitching in a song each. It's fiery, if perhaps over-busy at times, fusion, McLaughlin reaching his most feverish pitches in the frenetic concluding passage of the ten-minute "Trilogy." The numbers written by other members than McLaughlin tend to be a little more subdued, and perhaps unsurprisingly less inclined toward burning guitar solos.

Wire (11/99, p.54) - "...preserves the energy which made the group's initial appearance so momentous for many listeners....retains the impact of an adrenaline surge, and at its also electrifying..."

Mojo (12/99, p.130) - "...the chance to hear such an extraordinary ensemble at the very peak of their powers with studio sound is manna for the faithful."

More select excerpts from Billy Cobham's Forum:

Posted by boomer at on September 17, 1999 at 01:24:41:
In Reply to: sri chimnoy
Posted by kent stratton from on September 16, 1999 at 23:27:48:
: i have heard rumor that you and jan hammer left the mahavishnu orchestra because you did not approve of sri chimnoy's influence over john mcglaughlin. is this the real reason the band broke up?

I WAS FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by boomer at on October 17, 1999 at 23:02:43:
In Reply to: Reforming Mahavishnu Orchestra With Original Line-up?
Posted by Vic Arkilic from on October 16, 1999 at 23:20:04:
: Dear Mister Cobham, With the Columbia/Legacy release of Mahavishnu Orchestra "The Lost Trident Sessions" how about the original band getting back together to do some shows for the fans? I saw the original group perform back in the 70's and it would be fantastic to hear you perform together again as the original Mahavishnu Orchestral! Sincerely Vic Arkilic

I don't know if that is ever possible again but it is a good thought.


Posted by boomer at on October 10, 1999 at 16:00:45: In Reply to: Mr. Cobham's thoughts about the "lost tapes"?
Posted by Anders Snellman from on October 07, 1999 at 13:26:51:
: Dear Mr. Cobham,
: Have you yet heard Mahavishnu Orchestra's The Lost Trident Sessions? What are your thoughts and impresssions about the music? In my opinion it is fusion at its best and a valuable piece of history that was luckily found.
: Kind regards,
: Anders Snellman

I have not heard the recordings so, I reserve judgement. I would think that the music should hold up fine as it was and is still very fresh.


Posted by boomer at on September 18, 1999 at 12:22:26:
In Reply to: Getting fired from MO
Posted by Siegfried Duray-Bito from on September 17, 1999 at 16:41:18:
: In an earlier thread you mention you were fired from the Mahavishnu orchestra. Care to relate any particulars? Who fired you? Were the other members similarly fired or handled differently? With the passage of time, what is your perspective on the whole episode?
:Thanks, Siegfried

No, Siegfried,
I would not like to elaborate past that statement since old wounds need to stay closed.


Posted by boomer at on September 08, 1999 at 17:05:52:
In Reply to: JM
Posted by Diche Zhelms from on September 08, 1999 at 15:02:23:
:Mr. Billy,
:I have reading a quote from John Mclaughlin that Lost Trident Sessions recording were very great and the band was not getting along good the time. I have heard also that he was perhaps the reasons for the problems. In my country this kind of person in group is called the Jujasaibanni. This means in English, "scabs on the penis". Is this true for your band? You drummer is best.
Good by,Diche

John M. had his vision and for some reason it was not In harmony with the thoughts of the rest of the band. Opinions are what make the world a world. Sometimes we are in sync and at other times we are not!


Posted by boomer at on August 09, 1999 at 16:00:22:
In Reply to: Play again with John MClaughlin
Posted by Siegfried Duray-Bito from on August 09, 1999 at 12:48:07:
: Hi Billy!
: In answer to a recent question about playing again with John McLaughlin, you posted NO! Is this an emphatic no, as in no way, ever again, or just a mild no, as in no such current plans? Have you listened much to John's recent work? Electrically, he's done the Heart of Things, with Dennis, Matt Garrison, Jim Beard and Gary Thomas. I saw them live a couple of years ago - John and Dennis jammed hard like the old days... It must be tough thinking about playing again with someone like John - there's all these expectations to make it sound like the magic of 25+ years ago. Do you think it's possible for two musicians with your history to get together with a clean slate - almost as if you're discovering each other for the first time? You and John have grown so much over the years, yet I have this nagging feeling there's a special chemistry between you that deserves to be performed and heard. Just my opinion, of course...

No means that there are no plans on the table to perform with John Mclaughlin.


Posted by boomer at on November 20, 1999 at 03:12:24:
In Reply to: Phenomenon: Compulsion
Posted by Jeff from on November 19, 1999 at 17:22:02:
: I'm gonna lay off posting for a while after this - I don't want to overdo it!!
: Billy -
: I know it has been a long time, but could you give us some insight into the process that went into the duet you did with John McLaughlin called "Phenomenon: Compulsion" that appeared on his JOHNNY MCLAUGHLIN: ELECTRIC GUITARIST record? I'm not so much interested in how you played this or that, but I'd be interested to know what had taken place between the two of you before the tape rolled (at least the take that was kept for the record, whichever one it was) to coordinate all that ruckus. I surmise that there was a lot of interaction in real time but it is clear to me that the result is a mixture of the planned and the spontaneous.
: For those of you who haven't heard this, it's a two-man jam from hell - it's a pile of wreckage! But it's great! Despite my description, it is NOT total chaos! There is clearly intelligence at work.
: - Jeff

The musical relationship with McLaughlin and I at that time was such that it was easy to absorb each other's presentations and fuse them together to make an musical statement.
This not an unusual thing, but an element required to make music a communicative avenue.