Mahavishnu Orchestra is the father of fusion and no other song of theirs represents that more than ‘Meeting of the Spirits’ from their debut album The Inner Mounting Flame released in 1971. What’s so special about the album is it features John McLaughlin who just came off of the earth-shattering Miles Davis sessions of Bitches Brew. The band also featured a very young Jan Hammer on keys, Billy Cobham on drums, Jerry Goodman on violin and Rick Laird on bass. When I interviewed John McLaughlin, he told me that Miles had encouraged him to form his own band, so Miles had a hand in getting John started with Mahavishnu. He also told me that Jan was playing with Sarah Vaughn, which convinced John to take him immediately because of his admiration for Sarah. Another very interesting note is that some years earlier in the sixties, McLaughlin was jamming with what would later become the band Cream with Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. John had stressed to me that he was a blues guitarist really and was so taken by the American Blues movement in the 50’s & 60’s. You also have to understand that John was a star by this point because of his tenure with Miles, which by many opinions believe that Bitches Brew was the album that gave birth to fusion. The Inner Mounting Flame was hailed a masterpiece when it was released peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Jazz Albums and No. 89 on the Billboard 200, which is unheard of for a jazz fusion record. The song takes you on an entire mystical journey of esteemed musicianship that is unparalleled at the time. Jeff Beck was so influenced by John and Mahavishnu that he actually recruited Jan Hammer for his solo albums later in the 70’s creating such classic records as Wired and There & Back, forming a lifelong musical friendship. Both Pat Metheny and Jeff Beck have been quoted saying that John McLaughlin is the greatest living guitarist!
About the Curator: Brian Tarquin
Multi Emmy Award winning Brian Tarquin is an established top rate composer/guitarist. He has won 3 Emmy's for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series” and has been nominated for an Emmy 6 times. In 2019 Tarquin received a Global Music Gold Award for his release Orlando In Heaven for “Best Album.” Three years in a row (2016-2019) Tarquin received “Best Album of the Year” nominations from the Independent Music Awards for his releases: Guitars for Wounded Warriors, Orlando in Heaven, and Guitars for Veterans. On which, Tarquin shows his guitar prowess alongside such world-class shredders as: Steve Morse, Larry Coryell, Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot (Guns N’ Roses), Reb Beach (Whitesnake), Chuck Loeb (FourPlay) to name a few. In 2006 SESAC honored him with the Network Television Performance Award. Tarquin has graced the Top Billboard Charts with such commercial releases as: This is Acid Jazz, Vol. 2, Sweet Emotions, and Bossa Brava: Caliente on Instinct Records, followed by several solo jazz albums, which charted Top 10 at Smooth Jazz Radio R&R and Gavin charts. Brian has appeared on 38 releases, selling over 140,000 records in his career.