The multitude of talented artists who contributed to this project and the broad range of musical styles presented here is only befitting in a compilation paying tribute to a musically eclectic visionary such as McLaughlin. This recording is a must have for aficionados and novices alike.
CD 1 starts with german guitarist Kai Brückner, who recorded “The Dance of Maya” at his house together with percussionist Daniel Topo Gioia. Kai is playing acoustic & electric guitars plus the bass. Internationally renowned violinist Mads Tolling follows with an own composition - “Starmaker Machinery,” a scintillating number that carries all the virtuosic dazzle of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters” from Birds of Fire. Track 3 “Miles Beyond” features young US-guitarist Christopher Schreiner – a.k.a. The Guy – and this boy can play guitar. The Guy gets a unique tone and a certain melodic flair.
Next track comes from Indian sarangi player Surinder Sandhu. Surinder is truly a musician without boundaries: weaving cultures, melting genres and distilling sounds so that all that is left is just 'music. "The Little Hindu"
features Surinders band, guest guitarist Steve Vai plus players from The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Track 5 comes from the Nat Janoff Group. Nat’s version of “Are You The One ? Are you The One ?”, featuring Ray Riendeau on bass and Martin Diamond on drums, is a powerhouse track and has the manic intensity of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Track 6 features guitar legend Don Mock. “Sentilla’s Dance” is very inspired by John McLaughlin’s writing. Not really Mahavishnu era, more from his late ‘70’s period.
Next comes the MAHAVISHNU PROJECT with “One Word (Resolution)” (Track 7).
“One Word (Resolution)” contains themes that were ultimately used for two separate songs on The Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1973 release, "Birds of Fire". These melodies first appeared as early as 1969, in a Tony Williams Lifetime piece featuring Jack Bruce as vocalist. The high intensity version heard here has become a Mahavishnu Project concert favourite.
On track 8 John Stowell, an internationally respected jazz guitarist, returns (after being part on “Mahavishnu Re-Defined !” ) – with another own acoustic composition called “Windchaser”. NY Drummer Chris Massey’s trio “forever sharp and vivid” (featuring David Torn and David CasT) own composition “Gore” is certainly Mahavishnu influenced, but very atmospheric (Track 9). Next comes “My Foolish Heart” comes from L.A. guitarist Allen Hinds – a beautiful ballad – with Allen playing all guitars (Track 10). Bruce Arnold has built his reputation on his critically acclaimed explorations into twelve-tone structure. "12 Tone Boogie" (Track 11) is just that, a driving workout based on 027 pitch class set complete with whammy bar ornament and guitar pyrotechnics. CD 1 ends with “I Wonder” (Track 12), a Jerry Goodman composition, played by Mychael Pollard. Mychael is playing all instruments on the track.
CD 2 starts with german guitarist Ali Neander – with a Mahavishnu classic “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters” – embedded in fresh keyboard sounds. “House of Return” (track 2) is a gorgeous document from the underexposed West Coast ensemble the Jeff Gauthier Goatette, a tradition of jazz inclusion and stylistic open-mindedness.
Bon Lozaga, guitarist and member of the legendary Gong and founding member of Gongzilla with his own interpretation of John McLaughlin’s funky classic “Can't Stand The Funk” (Track 3).
George Colligan and Mad Science’s new sound for an organ trio combines the the raw funk of Tower of Power and the fusion of Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Listen to “Keeping Pace Ruff” (track 4). British guitarist Steve Topping brings a fresh perspective with uncommon melody lines and strong chops. On “The Life Divine” he plays with Paul Carmichael and Gary Husband (track 5). Bill Hart is a master guitarist and composer. With roots in rock, and influences from modern jazz and funk, Hart’s original compositions are creative and harmonically rich. This tune “Thanks Mah” (track 6) is a textural journey of colors through rhythmic complexities and expressive composition, truly an experience in musical communication from the soul.
Mark Wingfield’s guitar playing is mysterious, majestic, and blazing – on McLaughlin’s classic “Hope” he is accompanied by René von Grünig on piano and samples (track 7).
New Yorker, Rez Abbasi, is considered one of today's most exciting guitarist’s and composer’s. “Snake Charmer” is one example of many in which Abbasi’s organic approach to blending jazz and Indian music defies quick categorization.
Claude Pauly’s “Quiet Moves” (track 9) is a powerful track which has a strong Mahavishnu influence – featuring Kai Eckhardt (ex-McLaughlin member).
Israeli-born drummer and London resident Asaf Sirkis is not only an inventive drummer but also a composer of rigour, wit and surprising delicacy. “Hymn” (track 10) is inspired by the power-trio music produced by Tony Williams's Lifetime.
Next comes Italian master guitarist Gianfranco Continenza. “Mahavishnology” (track 11) is an amazing composition. It really sounds like a new version of Mahavishnu and yet it sounds like Gianfranco as well.
The Trio of Stridence is a duo on this track – guitarist/ bassist Alex Masi
and drummer Paul Marangoni are playing here with real fire and pushing the edge of things on “Vital Transformation” (track 12). The album ends with another acoustic ballad. This time the track comes from one of the masters of contemporary acoustic guitar, Jamie Findlay – “Very Early” (track 13).