Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgBirds of Fire is the second studio album by American jazz fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was released on January 3, 1973 by Columbia Records and is the last studio album released by the original band line-up before it dissolved.

As with the group’s previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. These include the track “Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)”, which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.

In addition to the standard 2-channel stereo album there was also a 4-channel quadraphonic version released during the 1970s. This appeared on LP in the SQ matrix format.

A remastered version of the album was released on CD in 2000 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a new set of liner notes by JazzTimes critic Bill Milkowski, as well as photographs of the band. In 2015 the album was re-issued on Super Audio CD by Audio Fidelity containing both the stereo and quad mixes.

The back cover of the album features the poem “Revelation” by Sri Chinmoy. (by wikipedia)

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Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second — and, no thanks to internal feuding, last — studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading — with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham’s machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird’s dancing bass — can be heard on the aptly named “One Word,” and the title track is a defining moment of the group’s nearly atonal fury.

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The band also takes time out for a brief bit of spaced-out electronic burbling and static called “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love.” Yet the most enticing pieces of music on the record are the gorgeous, almost pastoral opening and closing sections to “Open Country Joy,” a relaxed, jocular bit of communal jamming that they ought to have pursued further. This album actually became a major crossover hit, rising to number 15 on the pop album charts, and it remains the key item in the first Mahavishnu Orchestra’s slim discography. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Billy Cobham (drums, percussion)
Jerry Goodman (violin)
Jan Hammer (keyboards, synthesizer)
Rick Laird (bass)
John McLaughlin (guitar)

BackCover1.jpgTracklist:
01. Birds Of Fire 5.49
02. Miles Beyond (dedicated to Miles Davis) 4.45
03. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters 2.55
04. Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love 0.24
05. Thousand Island Park 3.23
06. Hope 1.56
07. One Word 9.55
08. Sanctuary 5.04
09. Open Country Joy 3.55
10. Resolution 2.10

Music composed by John McLaughlin

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And here´s a very intersting album … with music from The Mahavishnu Orchestra … arranged for a string quartet … the Radio String Quartett from Austria (click on the pic):

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Quiver – Same (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgQuiver was a melodic UK progressive rock band, Quiver occasionally followed a country rock path but achieved more success following their merger with the Sutherland Brothers. The line-up comprised Tim Renwick (b. 7 August 1949, Cambridge, England; guitar, vocals, flute) and Cal Batchelor (guitar, vocals, keyboards). Renwick had formerly been with Junior’s Eyes, and he and Batchelor recruited Cochise drummer John ‘Willie’ Wilson (b. 8 July 1947, Cambridge, England). Subsequently, the line-up of Wilson, Renwick, Batchelor, and ex-Village bass player Bruce Thomas (b. 14 August 1948, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, England; bass/vocals), recorded the self-produced Quiver. For the recording, they were augmented by Dick Parry (saxophone). The same line-up recorded Gone In The Morning, but due to lack of commercial success the band was subsequently dropped by Warner Brothers Records. The members were not coming up with new songs, and so they decided to join the Sutherland Brothers, the two line-ups merging in late 1972 with the addition of Pete Wood (b. Middlesex, England, d. 1994, New York, USA; keyboards).

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Shortly afterwards they were signed to Island Records, and with a number of personnel changes, achieved a degree of chart success. Renwick went on to form 747 and Kicks and is now an in-demand session guitar player, touring with bands such as Pink Floyd and Mike And The Mechanics. Wilson plays with the Coyotes, and Thomas with Elvis Costello’s backing band the Attractions. Quiver’s greatest claim, however, is being the first ever band to play the legendary Rainbow Theatre in London. (by allmusic)
I give this release 4 stars because the playing is just so good.Where it falls down slightly is due to the lack of really memorable tunes.When they palled up with Iain and Gavin Sutherland the Sutherlands got a red hot band to replace the workmanlike but dull band on their debut album and Quiver got some tunes and what tunes they were.Tim Renwick is one of my favourite guitar slingers,his work on Al Stewarts “Modern Times” album is ace. (woody123)

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One of my all-time favorite albums but I can see that is not the case with most reviewers. It’s kinda mellow country rock with a couple toe tappers. The guitar player is masterful and the bass player is excellent.

I guess it takes a few listens and some mental adjustments but I think this is an outstanding recording. It just pushes all the right buttons for me and I seem to be alone in that regard.

Killer Man is a killer track and Tim Renwick is a killer guitarist. From the best year for music ever … 1971. (rod45)

Surprising progressive folk band. Its progressiveness derives of the fact that Quiver plays a folk rock in a low pace with elaborated arrangements and excellent execution of instruments. An special comment deserve the bass player (Bruce Thomas). Voices are relaxed and the band do harmonies, according to the general ambient: relaxed and beautifully executed.
Some songs are normal folk songs, But some songs like “Cool Evening” are extra reflective songs including flutes to create the ambience.
t’s hard to understand why the low rate as this band deserve more. IMHO people who likes folk with an special touch can’t miss this first attempt of Quiver band. (DaremoS)

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Personnel:
Cal Batchelor (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Tim Renwick (guitar, flute, vocals)
Bruce Thomas (bass, vocals)
Willie Wilson (drums, percussion, vocals)
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Dick Parry (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Glad I Came Around (Batchelor) 5.05
02. Down Your Way (Batchelor) 3.47
03. Killer Man (Renwick) 7.54
04. Take A Train (Batchelor) 5.08
05. Cool Evening (Batchelor) 4.16
06. Barnes County (Renwick/Batchelor/Thomas/Wilson) 4.27
07. Back On The Road (Thomas) 3.28
08. Just Loving You (Batchelor) 2.00
09. Reason For Staying (Batchelor/Renwick) 7.02

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Cal Batchelor.jpgCal Batchelor has been a long time fixture in the music scene both here (Canada) and in the UK.
Born Calvin Batchelor, he was a fantastic Canadian guitarist (also a skilled keyboardist).
Cal went to England in 1969, and he helped form Quiver. They were the first group to play at Rainbow Theatre in London (supporting The Who). After leaving Quiver, Cal formed a band called 747. He then joined Long John Baldry for a while (as supporters for Faces). There, he met Ronnie Lane, joining his band later.
In February 1977, Cal formed another notable band called Kicks. In the 80s, Cal returned to Canada. He fronted his own Cal Batchelor Band for a number of years in Vancouver.

Cal’s beloved wife Yvonne passed away in recent weeks from cancer, and Cal certainly missed her in his life. Cal passed away on Sunday December 20, 2015. (rcmusicproject.com)