Mahavishnu orchestra1973

Mahavishnu Orchestra's first incarnation, 1973

The Mahavishnu Orchestra was the name of two jazz-fusion groups led by John McLaughlin, in 1971–1976 and 1984–1987. The band's original lineup featured "Mahavishnu" John McLaughlin on acoustic and electric guitars, with members Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on bass guitar, Jan Hammer on electric and acoustic piano and synthesizer, and Jerry Goodman on violin. After the original group dissolved, it reformed in 1974 with a new cast of musicians behind McLaughlin: Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, Gayle Moran on keyboards, Ralphe Armstrong on bass, and Narada Michael Walden on percussion, Steven Kindler and Carol Shive on violin, Marcia Westbrook on viola, Phil Hirschi on cello, Steve Frankevich and Bob Knapp on brass. The band was then reduced to a four-piece for 1976's Inner Worlds, with Jean-Luc Ponty leaving after a heated disagreement about writing credits on the Visions album, and Gayle Moran being replaced with Stu Goldberg. In 1984, McLaughlin reformed the Mahavishnu Orchestra with Bill Evans on saxophones, Jonas Hellborg on bass, Mitchel Forman on keyboards, and original member Billy Cobham on drums. Cobham participated in the sessions for their self-titled 1984 album, but was replaced by Danny Gottlieb for live work, and Jim Beard replaced Mitchel Forman for the latter period of this band's life. This band's overall sound was different from the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, in particular because of McLaughlin's extensive use of the Synclavier synthesiser system. (Read more at Wikipedia )

Links to Peel

Although at the moment we don't have recordings or writings of Peel mentioning the Mahavishnu Orchestra, we can assume that he was interested in them when they emerged, judging from the number of times he played their music. They certainly received plenty of coverage in the pop music papers he read, such as Melody Maker and Rolling Stone. and their albums appeared at a time when Peel's shows featured a fair number of sessions by jazz-rock artists.

Also, Peel was interested in John McLaughlin's career, which in its pre-Mahavishnu phase had overlapped with other artists admired by the DJ. McLaughlin made his name playing alongside Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, later of Cream, in the Graham Bond Organisation (Bond later did a Peel session) and contributed to Jack Bruce's solo albums. On the late 1960s British jazz scene, McLaughlin's contemporaries included some who later did Peel sessions, like Jon Hiseman (Colosseum) and Ian Carr (Nucleus), and Peel played tracks from the guitarist's debut LP, Extrapolation, on Night Ride shows in 1969,

In 1977 Peel declared a session by McLaughlin's other band, the acoustic, Indian-influenced Shakti, as one of the best recorded that year, and also aired some of his other music during his career. The DJ also featured records by other Mahavishnu Orchestra members, including Jean-Luc Ponty, who also worked with Frank Zappa, and Jan Hammer, who made an album with Peel favourite Jeff Beck. On 25 November 1976 Peel played three tracks from Narada Michael Walden's LP "Garden of Love Light". But there were few traces of jazz-fusion or jazz-rock in post-1980 Peel shows.


  • none, but John McLaughlin had one with his other band Shakti

Other Shows Played

(Please add more information if known)


External Links

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