Jean-Luc Ponty was gone. His squealing violin substituted by newcomer Stu Goldberg’s equally electrifying synthesizer. The entire horn and string section was also axed. The third lineup of the Mahavishnu Orchestra was now a quartet. But as a review in AllMusic.com noted of the album they recorded, this was “power-packed music”.
They open with A Love Supreme, with McLaughlin alive and playing like a dervish. The chant of “a love supreme” gets buried in this version. The tempo only comes to a crawl by the third tune, Sanctuary, another one that lets McLaughlin’s guitar shine. There are ample examples of Stu Goldberg’s keyboard skills on the next two lengthy instrumentals. Together with drummer Narada, both players keep the band sounding funky.
This show has McLaughlin run the band through its paces with much of the material from what’s regarded as their best album, Birds Of Fire. The Birds album was one of the more successful meldings of jazz and rock with much prominence given to the guitar as both a jazz and rock instrument. While Chicago and BS&T offered jazz-rock with more than a touch of pop, it was left to Miles Davis and McLaughlin to push the boundaries further into jazz territory.
Yet despite so much instrumental skill on display, punks were already lying in wait for the ambush to return the music to its three-minute single status. Jazz rock never recovered.
Recorded live in Austria, August 29, 1975. Very good soundboard stereo.
This came to us a long time ago and our notes list this as a soundboard recording. Could be FM sourced.
01. A Love Supreme (Coltrane) 11.57
02. Faith/Open Country Joy (McLaughlin) 18.18
03. Sanctuary (McLaughlin) 4.10
04. One Word/All In The Family (McLaughlin) 19.40
05. Hope/Be Happy (McLaughlin) 10.26