Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Various Artists - 2004 "A Guitar Supreme" - Giant Steps In Fusion Guitar

Given the label and roster here, one should have a good idea of what's in store for Guitar Supreme: Giant Steps in Fusion Guitar: fusion guitar giants performing well played, immaculately produced songs written or popularized by John Coltrane. And that's what it delivers, but while some of the performances are impressive, the overall sound seems to place more emphasis on technique and production than the spiritual passion embodied by Coltrane. Each player is backed by electric bass, drums, Hammond organ and rhythm guitar, giving each song an almost-funky smooth jazz vibe. This works fairly well on songs like "Mr. Syms" and "Village Blues," but it's pretty inappropriate for "Resolution" (part of the "Love Supreme Suite"), where the solemn spirituality of the original is completely undermined by the upbeat backing. On most of the other songs, once the head of the tune is stated, they all begin to sound the same since every tune is given exactly the same treatment. "Afro Blue" is one of the album highlights, with Jeff Richman's distorted tone giving a bit of edge to the sound, Mike Stern does a nice "My Favorite Things," and Greg Howe turns in a couple of fiery solos. Robben Ford's take on "Village Blues" is also well done, but the other tracks end up all blending together. None of this is bad, mind you, and the folks who are into the Tone Center/Shrapnel sound will be pleased and perhaps spurred to investigate more music from the jazz spectrum. Keep in mind that this is an album geared for fusion/guitar fans much more than John Coltrane fans, and you shouldn't be disappointed.

John Coltrane's musical virtuosity not only influenced sax players, but also composers and soloists on many other instruments. A Guitar Supreme: "Giant Steps In Fusion Guitar" brings together the creme de la creme of jazz/fusion guitarists with Mike Stern, Larry Coryell, Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Greg Howe, Jeff Richman, Frank Gambale and Robben Ford, paying a guitar tribute to one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. These phenomenal guitarists approach their lead solos with a respect and energy which renders their contributions to "A Guitar Supreme" among their greatest individual works to date. Additional musicians include Alphonso Johnson on bass, Tom Brechtlein on drums and Larry Goldings on keyboards.

Track Listings:

1. Resolution
2. Afro Blue
3. Crescent
4. Giant Steps
5. My Favorite Things
6. Naima
7. Mr Syms
8. Central Park West/Your Lady
9. Equinox
10. Village Blues
11. Lazy Bird
12. Satellite 

Personnel:

Eric Johnson (guitar on "Resolution"),
Jeff Richman (guitar on "Afro Blue," "Central Park West/Your Lady"),
Steve Lukather (guitar on "Crescent"),
Greg Howe (guitar on "Giant Steps," "Mr. Syms"),
Mike Stern (guitar on "My Favourite Things," "Equinox"),
Frank Gambale (guitar on "Naima," "Lazy Bird"),
Robben Ford (guitar on "Village Blues"),
Larry Coryell (guitar on "Satellite"),
Larry Goldings (organ),
Alphonso Johnson (bass),
Tom Brechtlein (drums).

J.D. Blackfoot - 1970 [1996] "The Ultimate Prophecy"

J.D. Blackfoot's first LP -- recorded when future Pure Prairie League member Craig Fuller was in the lineup -- was a curious affair that very much reflected prevalent trends in the world of album-oriented rock in 1970. The songs were diverse enough that they sounded as if they could have been the work of several bands, and emulated more famous acts in both good and bad ways. The first side of the album was definitely the more song-oriented one, and while the better tracks are derivative, they're pretty good derivations. Fuller's "One Time Woman" is very much in the mold of journeyman Creedence Clearwater Revival; "Angel" quite credibly approximates the kind of light, wistful folk-rock that Jesse Colin Young sang with the Youngbloods; and "I've Never Seen You" brings to mind the lightest, sweetest material of the young Neil Young. The second side, however, takes a turn for the more bombastically progressive, offering a song suite of sorts with much of the pretentious lyricism-mysticism to which this genre was particularly prone. The multi-movement structure used by some British art rock bands of the time is dusted with some West Coast psychedelic-influenced guitar arrangements, and the lyrical vision dragged down by such passages as (in "Cycles") "for my mind is but the sperm, and this earth be the womb," spoken à la some of the Moody Blues' portentous narrations. 

The Ultimate Prophecy album was recorded in 1970 on the Mercury label and received a spotlight pick in Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World magazines.
It was a huge selling album in markets like St. Louis, MO and Columbus, OH, staying at the #1 position for nine straight weeks on the WCOL- AM Columbus chart. It was released in 22 countries and had great success in Germany and several other European countries.
The title track “The Ultimate Prophecy” is comprised of 5 songs that tell a philosophy of our life, death, and rebirth back into this universe. In his book, titled “Stairway to Hell”, music critic Chuck Eddy listed “The Ultimate Prophesy” at number 374 of the top 500 heavy albums of all time.  This cover art was discontinued when the CD version was re-released on the Yonder label in 2007.

Not sure about all the different releases brought up in this listing, but mine is the original 1970 release with the Rene Magritte looking cover design with the guy in the bowler hat. This has long been a favorite album of mine. Pure 70's rock with a country rock flavor and some psychedelia thrown in for good measure.

Twangy guitars in a somewhat rough-edged garage band sound. The songs are all pretty good if not downright interesting. Side one is a collection of standard sounding rock songs all nicely presented with enough intricacy to keep the listener's attention. Side two is a wild pseudo-religious excursion into a mind tripping musical display. I'm not sure what the connotations of this song cycle epic are since there is no specific religious dogma espoused, but it's an "Ultimate Prophecy" so I guess it's supposed to be profound.

Profound or not, this is all fun listening with a ton of energy behind. I can imagine this group probably put on a terrific live show in their day. The vinyl release that I have doesn't include the live set that's described for the CD, but I'll bet that's worth hearing as well.

This is an excellent rock release from an artist/band that I suppose has a certain amount of cult status, but never made it to the really big time. Though the line-up includes Craig Fuller who appeared later with Pure Prarie League among other groups. His song "Angel" on this album later was released with Pure Prarie League.

Fans of psychedelic music should be highly appreciative of what J.D. Blackfoot has to offer on "The Ultimate Prophecy".

" The Ultimate Prophecy " is a must buy. This C.D not only comes with the original album release, but a full live rendition of "the Ultimate prophecy " all movements, complete with keys, slide bar guitar and backing vocals. Full color multi page insert, chock full of information about the making of the album, and live show. Fantastic. If you have not heard this, and enjoy a concept, album that combines fantastic music with brilliant lyrics , like the Who's " Tommy", Pink Floyd's " Dark side of the moon", Yes's "close to the edge" , Rush's " 2112", "hemispheres" , & "fountain of Lamneth" , just buy this. It stands side by side with all those great albums. Not only that, but you will be directly supporting the artist, as J.D Blackfoot bought back all the rights to his music.

 Track listing:

1     One Time Woman     3:42
2     Angel     3:47
3     We Can Try     4:06
4     Good Day Extending Company     4:41
5     I've Never Seen You     3:15
6     The Ultimate Prophecy     4:57
7     Death's Finale     3:38
8     Cycles     3:29
9     Waiting To Be Born     5:03
10     Pink Sun     5:20

Personnel:

J.D. Blackfoot     Primary Artist, Vocals
Warren Dewey     Engineer, Remixing
Dale Frashuer     Drums, Producer
Craig Fuller     Guitar
Sterling Smith     Organ
 

Jethro Tull - 1993 25th Anniversary [4 CD Box]

25th Anniversary Box Set is a 1993 limited edition box set by Jethro Tull. It includes some of the band's best-known compositions from 1969 to 1992, many of them previously unavailable in the versions presented here. It was the second Jethro Tull box-set in five years, the first being the 3CD/ 5LP/ 3Cassette 20 Years of Jethro Tull.

Four CDs
 The CDs are housed in a mock cigar-box, along with a booklet featuring extensive notes and photographs, sealed with a label bearing an image of Ian Anderson.
The four CDs are:
  • Remixed Classic Songs: remixes some older tracks (77:06)
  • Carnegie Hall, N.Y., Recorded Live New York City 1970: benefit concert for Phoenix House to rehabilitate drug abusers. This CD omits "By Kind Permission Of" and "Dharma For One", due to CD time constraints. Both can be found on the Living In The Past compilation. This performance was later released again in an expanded edition of Stand Up. (60:28)
  • The Beacons Bottom Tapes: new recordings, mostly of older tracks (71:07) 
  • Pot Pourri, Live Across The World & Through The Years: live (1969–1992) (77:43) 
Where the first Jethro Tull box five years earlier, 20 Years of Jethro Tull, mostly traded on radio broadcast performances and rarities, a few outtakes, and a remastered collection of key songs, 25th Anniversary Boxed Set benefits from a more thorough raid on the vaults that has yielded up one essential addition to any Jethro Tull collection. Disc two is the centerpiece of the set, containing an additional hour of the group's November 4, 1970 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York (two pieces were previously issued on Living in the Past). Preserved on a 16-track master tape, this benefit show for the drug rehabilitation program Phoenix House was the group's most prominent American gig up to that time. It's a good representation of what the band sounded like in its second incarnation, when they were still establishing themselves outside of England. The group had still not reached -- or even approached -- its progressive rock period, and the sound is very stripped down, a pounding mix of hard rock, acoustic folk music, jazz elements, and Ian Anderson's vocals, alternately sage-like and fierce; some of the flute acrobatics don't translate too well to tape, even in Carnegie Hall, but the transition from "Sossity, You're a Woman" into "Reasons for Waiting" -- featuring exquisite organ playing by John Evan -- is beautiful enough as to make up for the flaws elsewhere, as well as reminding listeners of one of the more hauntingly beautiful songs in the group's early repertory; they also unveil a song that was still, by Anderson's own account, a work-in-progress, entitled "My God." Disc one is comprised of 16 songs from across the group's history, from their single "My Sunday Feeling" in 1968 to "Broadsword" in 1982, all in remixed versions with some fresh nips and tucks by the engineers who generally make the music sound hotter and push the percussion and the guitar solos further into the foreground; those are interesting listening, but an audiophile hits collection of the original mixes would have been preferred. Disc three features the then-current lineup of the group in a live performance from 1992, documenting their latest approach to songs ranging across 24 years of their history -- they're professional and polished (and loud), but not as interesting as the original versions. Finally, Disc four is this set's companion to the 20th anniversary set's disc of radio performances, drawing from various additional radio appearances and other live venues -- opening with the loud, bluesy "To Be Sad Is a Mad Way to Be" (which is a definite throwback to the This Was album), the music advances across the decades, crossing the 1970s with a three-minute excerpt from A Passion Play into a medley of Aqualung material and on to their various 1980s incarnations and repertory, by which time Martin Barre is pretty much sharing the spotlight with (if not outright stealing it from) Anderson -- the most interesting moment is the "Passion Jig," an instrumental piece salvaged and adapted from part of A Passion Play, which is a clever way of reviving music from a concept album whose complete presence was no longer required. The entire package comes in a container designed to resemble a cigar box, with a profusely illustrated and annotated 46-page booklet. The only problem is that the box doesn't really stay shut with the catch that's installed on it, and the internal pockets holding the CDs are a bit shoddy, made of cardboard that is much too fragile and eventually broke or ripped on many copies.  

A really nice box set, albeit for the hardcore fan and not the newbie. Disc One consists of more modern mixes of old standards, and while some (Minstrel, Life is a Long Song) are admirable, I can take or leave this disc. Disc two is the live show from 1970, absolute perfection! Disc 3 has the band live in studio playing some of the classic songs in a new way. The dynamic Jack-A-Lynn, the intsrumentals of "The Whistler", "Cheerio",  and "Protect and Survive", along with a stirring performance of "My God" are the highlights. Disc 4 contains various live performances through the years, highlighted by a powerful and amazing Passion Play edit.

Track listing

Disc One
Remixed Classic Songs

 

  1. "My Sunday Feeling"
  2. "A Song for Jeffrey"
  3. "Living in the Past"
  4. "Teacher"
  5. "Sweet Dream"
  6. "Cross-Eyed Mary"
  7. "Witch's Promise"
  8. "Life Is a Long Song"
  9. "Bungle in the Jungle"
  10. "Minstrel in the Gallery"
  11. "Cold Wind to Valhalla"
  12. "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!"
  13. "Songs from the Wood"
  14. "Heavy Horses"
  15. "Black Sunday"
  16. "Broadsword"

Disc Two
Carnegie Hall, N.Y. Recorded Live New York City 1970

 

  1. "Nothing Is Easy"
  2. "My God"
  3. "With You There to Help Me"
  4. "A Song for Jeffrey"
  5. "To Cry You a Song"
  6. "Sossity: You're a Woman"
  7. "Reasons for Waiting"
  8. "We Used to Know"
  9. "Guitar Solo"
  10. "For a Thousand Mothers"

Disc Three
The Beacons Bottom Tapes

 

  1. "So Much Trouble"
  2. "My Sunday Feeling"
  3. "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You"
  4. "Living in the Past"
  5. "Bourée" (Instrumental)
  6. "With You There to Help Me"
  7. "Thick As a Brick"
  8. "Cheerio"
  9. "A New Day Yesterday"
  10. "Protect and Survive" (Instrumental)
  11. "Jack-A-Lynn"
  12. "The Whistler" (Instrumental)
  13. "My God"
  14. "Aqualung"

Disc Four
Pot Pourri Live Across The World & Through The Years

 

  1. "To Be Sad Is a Mad Way to Be" (Recorded at Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm – 19 January 1969)
  2. "Back to the Family" (Recorded at Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm – 19 January 1969)
  3. "A Passion Play (Extract)" (Recorded at Palais des Sports, Paris – 5 July 1975)
  4. "Wind-Up / Locomotive Breath / Land of Hope and Glory" (Recorded at Golders Green Hippodrome, London – 2 February 1977)
  5. "Seal Driver" (Recorded at Congress Centrum, Hamburg – 8 April 1982)
  6. "Nobody's Car" (Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, London – 9 September 1984)
  7. "Pussy Willow" (Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, London – 9 September 1984)
  8. "Budapest" (Recorded at Leysin Festival, Leysin – 10 July 1991)
  9. "Nothing Is Easy" (Recorded at Leysin Festival, Leysin – 10 July 1991)
  10. "Kissing Willie" (Recorded at Tallinn Festival, Tallinn – 20 July 1991)
  11. "Still Loving You Tonight" (Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, London – 8 October 1991)
  12. "Beggar's Farm" (Recorded at Beasley Theater Quad, Pullman – 24 October 1992)
  13. "Passion Jig" (Instrumental) (Recorded at Riviera Theater, Chicago – 10 October 1992)
  14. "A Song for Jeffrey" (Recorded at Riviera Theater, Chicago – 11 October 1992)
  15. "Living in the Past" (Recorded at Theatre St. Denis, Montreal – 9 November 1992)
Line-up / Musicians
DISC 1:
- Ian Anderson / flute, mouth organ, claghorn, piano, vocals, harmonica, mandolin
- Mick Abrahams / guitar, 9-string guitar, vocals (1 - 2)
- Clive Bunker / drums, hooter and charm bracelet (1 - 7)
- Glenn Cornick / bass (1 - 5 and 7)
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, marimba (3 - 16)
- Barriemore Barlow / drums, percussion (8 - 14)
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass (6 and 8 - 11)
- John Glascock / bass, vocals (12 - 14)
- John Evans / piano (4 and 7 - 14)
- Mark Craney / drums (15)
- Gerry Conway / drums, percussion (16)
- Peter-John Vettese / piano, synthesizer (16)
- Dave Pegg / bass, mandolins, vocals (15 - 16)
- David Palmer / keyboards, orchestra conductor (13 - 14)

DISC 2:
- Ian Anderson / flute, mouth organ, claghorn, piano, vocals, harmonica, mandolin
- Clive Bunker / drums, hooter and charm bracelet
- Glenn Cornick / bass
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, marimba
- John Evans / piano

DISC 3:
- Ian Anderson / flute, mouth organ, harmonica, mandolin (1 - 7, 9 and 11 - 14)
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, marimba (2, 6 - 7 and 9 - 14)
- Dave Pegg / bass, mandolins, vocals (2, 6 - 9 and 11 - 14)
- Andy Giddings / keyboards (2, 5 - 7, 9 and 11 - 14)
- Doane Perry / drums (2, 6 - 7, 9 and 11 - 14)

DISC 4:
- Ian Anderson / flute, mouth organ, claghorn, piano, vocals, harmonica, mandolin
- Martin Barre / electric guitar, marimba
- Clive Bunker / drums, hooter and charm bracelet (1 - 2)
- Glenn Cornick / bass (1 - 2)
- Barriemore Barlow / drums, percussion (3 - 4)
- John Evans / piano (3 - 4)
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass (3)
- John Glascock / bass, vocals (4)
- David Palmer / keyboards, orchestra conductor (4)
- Dave Pegg / bass, mandolins, vocals (6 - 15)
- Gerry Conway / drums, percussion (5)
- Peter-John Vettese / piano, synthesizer (6 - 7)
- Doane Perry / drums (6 - 11)
- Martin Allcock / mandolin, keyboards (8 - 11)
- Dave Mattacks / drums (12 - 15)
- Andy Giddings / keyboards (12 - 15)


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mahavishnu Orchestra - 2011 Complete Columbia Collection [5 CD Box]


The Complete Original Mahavishnu Orchestra Columbia Albums Collection (5 CDs):

1 The Inner Mounting flame (1971)
2. Birds Of Fire (1973)
3. The Lost Trident Sessions (1973)
4. Between Nothingness and Eternity (1974)
5.Bonus Disc: Between Nothingness And Eternity [Disc 2]

The Complete Columbia Albums Collection features the output of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Rick Laird, and Jerry Goodman). When it was released in 2012, this compact box set sold for roughly the same price as two full-price CDs. It contains the studio albums The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) and Birds of Fire (1973). The live release Between Nothingness & Eternity (1973) is joined by Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity, which features three cuts from the same August 1973 Central Park performance documented on the original, along with another three cuts recorded the previous night at the same location. The fifth and final disc is the 1999-released The Lost Trident Sessions. As with similar Legacy sets for Stanley Clarke, Weather Report, and George Duke, the discs are in durable LP replica sleeves that feature all-original artwork reproductions. Full credits are listed in the 15-page booklet, which also includes brief notes from McLaughlin and Richard Seidel.
The Mahavishnu Orchestra, in its original incarnation, lasted just four years, but in that brief time, the pioneering quintet set both the template and the high-water mark for fusion music. No band ever rocked as hard in a jazzy place as guitarist John McLaughlin's charging ensemble.

McLaughlin had already built a firm reputation in his native England as a keen improviser with blues and rock leanings when he was invited by drummer Tony Williams in early 1969 to join him in New York. Almost immediately, McLaughlin was swept up into the very epicenter of the burgeoning fusion movement, appearing on in 1969 alone three of the genre's most significant recordings: Emergency! (by the newly-formed Tony Williams Lifetime) and In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, the epochal Miles Davis albums that kick started fusion.

When it was time for McLaughlin -- who, in his initial New York stay, had quickly developed from a gifted player to a brilliant one -- to form his own band, he brought together musicians who could apply full-force rock energy to improvisatory jazz skill. Keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman, and drummer Billy Cobham were each extravagant virtuosos eager to match McLaughlin at his own game; bassist Rick Laird contained the passion with his steady bass lines. Dubbed the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the new band released its debut recording, The Inner Mounting Flame in August of 1971: fusion as we know it was now fully born.

Younger listeners raised on rock responded to the band's vitality and extraordinary musicianship; before long The Mahavishnu Orchestra was appearing with the likes of The Byrds and Aerosmith. Subsequent hit albums built on The Inner Mounting Flame s innovations; Hammer added synthesizers to his arsenal, developing a keyboard style nearly as influential as that of McLaughlin's frenetic guitar work and Cobham's rumbling percussive attack. But it was nearly inevitable that the life span of such a dynamic ensemble would be brief. The Mahavishnu Orchestra threw down the gauntlet; fusioneers who followed have been trying to catch up ever since.

The original Mahavishnu Orchestra only lasted a short time, but they created a tremendous body of work. Not quite rock but too loud for jazz, they blazed the trail for fusion and left everyone far behind. This collection has both studio albums - with not a bad cut between them -and the live 'Between Nothingness and Eternity', which, unusually for the time, had all new music on it and was more expansive, with the shortest cut being nearly ten minutes long.

Tensions among such high powered individuals were perhaps inevitable, especially concerning songwriting royalties, and the group broke up after only two short years. It was a real pleasure when decades later 'The Lost Trident Sessions' was released, a complete album recorded and abandoned during the last days of the group. Much of the material overlaps the live album, with less intensity but greater precision and accuracy. It often sounds slightly incomplete and doesn't quite reach the heights of the first two albums, but it is still superior material to everything else to come from other contemporary bands.

But the real treat of this box set, besides the remastering, besides the great price, and besides the informative booklet, is the bonus album of live material. This stuff is as smoking hot as you would expect and clocks in at a generous running time. A lot of the classics are covered, often at blistering speed. This alone is worth the price of the box set. But wait, there's more! The first album also has a 15 minute bonus live cut from the Mar-Y-Sol festival.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra may not be everybody's cup of tea, and jazz traditionalists dismiss them as too loud and fast. But for the fan of early 1970s music, of jazz fusion or progressive rock (the band is closer to King Crimson than anyone else, in truth), they were the Kings of the Mountain.

Until recently, this set had only been sold on Sony's "Pop Market" website, which is absurdly secretive, not revealing song line-ups for product, so it is impossible for fans to know (before buying) if their box sets contain any previously unreleased material. I've now purchased this set from Amazon.com, and so I can now reveal the specifics. The contents are:

1."The Inner Mounting Flame"(original 1971 Don Puluse mix), plus a bonus track: a 15 minute "Noonward Race" live at the "Mar Y Sol" festival, which was originally released on a 2-L.P. ATCO Records "Mar Y Sol" various artists set)

2.Birds of Fire

3.The Lost Trident Sessions

4.Between Nothingness & Eternity

5."Unreleased tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity".Tracklisting: "Hope", "Awakening", "You Know, You Know","One Word", "Stepping Tones", "Vital Transformation", "The Dance of Maya". These tracks were all recorded August 17 & 18,1973 at Wollman Rink in New York.

The booklet with the box set gives the basic information for each album , but does not reproduce the liner notes for "The Lost Trident Sessions". Also, I would note that I would have preferred the late 1980's Mark Wilder remix of "The Inner Mounting Flame" because of its superior sound quality, but I've got it elsewhere in my collection.

The Disc Five of unreleased material is worth the price of the box set's purchase. Some may complain about the omission of later Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, but the set is titled "The Original Mahavishnu Orchestra-The Complete Columbia Albums Collection", and so it is complete; all the released albums by the original John McLaughlin/Jan Hammer/Rick Laird/Billy Cobham/Jerry Goodman line-up.


Disc 1
1971 [2011] The Inner Mounting Flame 


The Inner Mounting Flame is Mahavishnu Orchestra's first studio album, released in 1971 and consisting solely of original compositions by John McLaughlin.
The track "You Know, You Know" was sampled in Massive Attack's "One Love", Mos Def's "Kalifornia", Black Sheep's single "Similak Child", David Sylvian's "I Surrender", Cecil Otter's "Rebel Yellow" and Blahzay Blahzay's "Intro" from Blah Blah Blah album.
A remastered version of the album, on CD, was released in 1998 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a facsimile of the LP front cover, a new set of liner notes by Bob Belden, as well as many photographs of the band. "The Inner Mounting Flame" was included in 2011 as part of "The Complete Columbia Albums Collection" boxset, along with the other albums by the first line-up of the band, including "The Lost Trident Sessions". This version includes a version of "The Noonward Race" recorded live at the Mar Y Sol Pop Festival 3 April 1972. That version was previously available on the compilation album "Mar Y Sol: The First International Puerto Rico Pop Festival", but the version included in the boxset is two minutes longer.

This is the album that made John McLaughlin a semi-household name, a furious, high-energy, yet rigorously conceived meeting of virtuosos that, for all intents and purposes, defined the fusion of jazz and rock a year after Miles Davis' Bitches Brew breakthrough. It also inadvertently led to the derogatory connotation of the word fusion, for it paved the way for an army of imitators, many of whose excesses and commercial panderings devalued the entire movement. Though much was made of the influence of jazz-influenced improvisation in the Mahavishnu band, it is the rock element that predominates, stemming directly from the electronic innovations of Jimi Hendrix. The improvisations, particularly McLaughlin's post-Hendrix machine-gun assaults on double-necked electric guitar and Jerry Goodman's flights on electric violin, owe more to the freakouts that had been circulating in progressive rock circles than to jazz, based as they often are on ostinatos on one chord. These still sound genuinely thrilling today on CD, as McLaughlin and Goodman battle Jan Hammer's keyboards, Rick Laird's bass, and especially Billy Cobham's hard-charging drums, whose jazz-trained technique pushed the envelope for all rock drummers. What doesn't date so well are the composed medium- and high-velocity unison passages that are played in such tight lockstep that they can't breathe. There is also time out for quieter, reflective numbers that are drenched in studied spirituality ("A Lotus on Irish Streams") or irony ("You Know You Know"); McLaughlin was to do better in that department with less-driven colleagues elsewhere in his career. Aimed with absolute precision at young rock fans, this record was wildly popular in its day, and it may have been the cause of more blown-out home amplifiers than any other record this side of Deep Purple.

Tracks Listing

1. Meeting Of The Spirits (6:52)
2. Dawn (5:10)
3. Noonward Race (6:28)
4. A Lotus On Irish Streams (5:39)
5. Vital Transformation (6:16)
6. The Dance Of Maya (7:17)
7. You Know, You Know (5:07)
8. Awakening (3:32)

Total Time: 46:34

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / guitar
- Jerry Goodman / violin
- Jan Hammer / piano, electric piano and organ
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums


Disc 2
1973 [2011] Birds Of Fire


Birds of Fire is Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album. It was released in the first half of 1973 and is the last studio album released by the original Mahavishnu Orchestra line-up before the group dissolved, although Between Nothingness and Eternity, a live album, was recorded and released later that same year. (The final studio recordings by this line-up would be released as The Lost Trident Sessions in 1999).
As in the case of The Mahavishnu Orchestra's previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. This includes the track "Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)", which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.
The back cover of the LP features a poem entitled "Revelation" by Sri Chinmoy.
A remastered version of the album, on CD, was released in 2000 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a facsimile of the LP cover and a new set of liner notes by Bill Milkowski, as well as photographs of the band.

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. 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.

Tracks Listing

1. Birds Of Fire (5:41)
2. Miles Beyond (Miles Davis) (4:39)
3. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters (2:53)
4. Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love (0:22)
5. Thousand Island Park (3:19)
6. Hope (1:55)
7. One Word (9:54)
8. Sanctuary (5:01)
9. Open Country Joy (3:52)
10. Resolution (2:08)

Total Time: 39:48

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / guitar
- Jerry Goodman / violin
- Jan Hammer / piano
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums


Disc 3
1973 [2011] The Lost Trident Sessions


The Lost Trident Sessions is a studio album by jazz fusion group the Mahavishnu Orchestra, released on 21 September 1999 through Sony Music Entertainment. It was originally recorded in June 1973 at Trident Studios but was not released until 26 years later. According to the album's detailed liner notes, in November 1998 Columbia Records producer Bob Belden stumbled upon two quarter-inch tapes in Columbia's Los Angeles vault whilst gathering material for a remastered reissue of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1972 album Birds of Fire. The tapes were otherwise unlabelled besides the recording location, but upon further inspection they were revealed to be the two-track mixes for what would have been the Mahavishnu Orchestra's third studio album at the time

McLaughlin feels that the Orchestra was never recorded at their peak. "There is a studio album that never got released which is really good", he explains. It would have been their third studio album, following Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire. "But at the time the record was being made, emotion in the band was running so high that people could no longer see clearly. Everyone felt nervous about it". Why? "I don't know why". And McLaughlin did not pursue it either: "When the people in the band told me how they felt, I respected it. I didn't ask them to explain why they felt it. That was enough. So we put a live album out (Between Nothingness and Eternity) which was good, but it wasn't on the same level. But one day I'd like the album to come out. It's a great album"

With the exception of "John's Song #2", all compositions on this album were performed on other albums: "Dream", "Trilogy" and "Sister Andrea" appeared on the Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1973 live album Between Nothingness and Eternity, whilst "I Wonder" and "Steppings Tones" appeared on violinist Jerry Goodman and keyboardist Jan Hammer's 1974 album Like Children.

Recorded in London on June 25, 1973, these sessions for a planned third Mahavishnu Orchestra album were shelved when the band decided to put out the live Between Nothingness and Eternity instead. Bootlegged in the past, two-track mixes of the missing album were discovered in the vaults in the late '90s, paving the way for its official release in 1999. It's thus the last of the three studio albums done by the original Mahavishnu lineup (with Cobham on drums, Goodman on violin, Hammer on keyboards, and Laird on bass). Although McLaughlin had been the only composer on the first two Mahavishnu albums, he penned only three of the six tracks here, with Hammer writing two and Laird pitching in one. It's fiery, if perhaps over-busy at times, fusion, McLaughlin reaching his most feverish pitches in the frenetic concluding passage of the ten-minute "Trilogy." The numbers written by other members than McLaughlin tend to be a little more subdued, and perhaps unsurprisingly less inclined toward burning guitar solos. 

Tracks Listing

1. Dream (11:06)
2. Trilogy (9:30)
3. Sister Andrea (6:43)
4. I Wonder (3:07)
5. Stepping Stone (3:09)
6. John's Song (5:54)

Total Time: 39:45

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / 6 & 12 string electric guitar & acoustic guitar
- Jerry Goodman / electric violin, viola & violow (custom viola with cello strings)
- Jan Hammer / electric piano & synthesizers
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums


Disc 4
1973 [2011] Between Nothingness & Eternity


Between Nothingness & Eternity is the first live album of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and last with the original line-up, released in 1973. According to the Mahavishnu Orchestra Gigs listing by Walter Kolosky, it was recorded live at the Schaefer Music Festival, held in Central Park, New York on August 17 and 18, 1973, even though, available recordings seems to prove that all of the material from the album was actually taken from the second night only. Originally, Mahavishnu Orchestra's third album was to be a studio one, recorded in June 1973 at Trident Studios in London, but was scrapped during the final days of the project. A live album containing versions of three out of the original six tracks came out instead. The original studio album was later released in 1999 as The Lost Trident Sessions.
Between Nothingness & Eternity was included in 2011 as part of The Complete Columbia Albums Collection boxset, along with the other albums by the first line-up of the band, including "The Lost Trident Sessions". This new version was a new different mix with an additional minute of music on "Sister Andrea". The boxset also contained an album called "Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity" which contains other selections from the two Central Park shows.

The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's original very slim catalog was padded out somewhat by this live album (recorded in New York's Central Park) on which the five jazz/rock virtuosos can be heard stretching out at greater length than in the studio. There are only three selections on the disc, all of which were to have been on the group's then-unissued third album -- two of them, guitarist John McLaughlin's "Trilogy: Sunlit Path/La Merede la Mer" and keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," are proportioned roughly as they were in their studio renditions, while the third, McLaughlin's "Dream," is stretched to nearly double its 11-minute studio length. Each develops organically through a number of sections, and there are fewer lockstep unison passages than on the earlier recordings. McLaughlin is as flashy and noisy as ever on double-necked electric guitar, and Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman are a match for him in the speed department, with drummer Billy Cobham displaying a compelling, raw power and dexterity to his work as well, especially on the CD edition, which also gives bassist Rich Laird a showcase for his slightly subtler work. Yet for all of the superb playing, one really doesn't hear much music on this album; electricity and competitive empathy are clearly not enough, particularly on the 21-minute "Dream," which left a lot of fans feeling let down at the end of its side-two-filling run on the LP. In the decades since this album was released, the studio versions of these three pieces, along with other tracks being worked up for their third album, have appeared as The Lost Trident Sessions -- dating from May and June of 1973 -- thus giving fans a means of comparing this repertory to what the band had worked out (or not worked out) in the studio; and Between Nothingness and Eternity has come up a bit in estimation as a result, benefiting as it does from the spontaneity and energy of a live performance, though even that can only carry this work so far -- beyond the personality conflicts that broke up the band, they seem to have been approaching, though not quite reaching, a musical dead end as well.

Tracks Listing

1. Trilogy Medley (12:01)
... The Sunlit Path
... La Mere De La Mer
... Tomorrow's Story Not The Same
2. Sister Andrea (8:22)
3. Dream (21:24)

Total Time: 41:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Jerry Goodman / violin
- Jan Hammer / synthesizer, piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer
- Rick Laird / bass
- John McLaughlin / synthesizer, guitar
- Sri Chinmoy / poetry
- Billy Cobham / drums


Disc 5
1973 [2011] Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness and Eternity


Unreleased Tracks from Between Nothingness & Eternity is a live album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, first released in 2011 as part of The Complete Columbia Albums Collection boxset, along with the other albums by the first line-up of the band, including The Lost Trident Sessions. As the title explains, the album contains other selections from the two Central Park shows from August 1973 from which the live album Between Nothingness and Eternity was culled.

While the other half of this concert, recorded in August 1973 in NYC's Central Park, was released as Mahavishnu Orchestra's third album, these recordings have been sitting in a vault for almost 40 years.  Well recorded, and with at times, blistering performances, this concert should be regarded as essential. The Mahavishnu Orchestra (original lineup) only existed for two short years. Get this. You will be glad you did.

Shame on Columbia records for keeping this hidden for 40 years. They seem to have a fetish for this sort of thing. After all, they allowed what we now have as "The Lost Trident Sessions" to languish unseen for 25 years. It was live versions of the major songs from that recording which Columbia released as the original "Between Nothingness & Eternity." This second volume from that same concert contains a shorty from "Trident" and three pieces each from "The Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds Of Fire." But these are not simply readings of familiar tunes. This is a band at the pinnacle of its estimable powers. Each player is a brilliant soloist, but also a team player who comps for the others. The guys have stretched and squashed these pieces, smacked them flat and thrown them over, popped them inside out and played them backwards. They've wrung as much joy, peace, exuberance, anguish, anger and laughter from them as possible, until they resemble the originals at times, but also not at all. This is muscular music which calls to mind a world record athletic performance: its tempos are furious, its harmonies angular and shifting, its rhythms thunderous yet intricate, its execution serving precision and inspiration equally. It will hit you in the solar plexus and knock the wind straight out of you.

Five stars is not nearly enough for this music. How about several hundred each for Billy, Rick, Jan, Jerry and Johnny Mac. And another hundred for Rex Bogue's (RIP) magnificent double rainbow, the finest example possible of the right guitar for the right player.

Track listing:

1     Hope     1:48
2     Awakening     14:09
3     You Know, You Know     7:12
4     One Word     18:30
5     Stepping Tones     2:02
6     Vital Transformation     6:16
7     The Dance Of The Maya     14:04

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / guitar
- Jerry Goodman / violin
- Jan Hammer / piano
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums


Al Di Meola - 1976 "Land Of The Midnight Sun"

Land of the Midnight Sun is the first album by Al Di Meola, released in 1976. The complex pieces (which include the three-part "Suite-Golden Dawn," an acoustic duet with Chick Corea on "Short Tales of the Black Forest" and a brief Bach violin sonata) show Di Meola's range even at this early stage.

One of the guitar heroes of fusion, Al di Meola was just 22-years-old at the time of his debut as a leader but already a veteran of Chick Corea's Return to Forever. The complex pieces (which include the three-part "Suite-Golden Dawn," an acoustic duet with Corea on "Short Tales of the Black Forest," and a brief Bach violin sonata show di Meola's range even at this early stage. With assistance from such top players as bassists Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, keyboardist Barry Miles, and drummers Lenny White and Steve Gadd, this was a very impressive beginning to di Meola's solo career.

After joining Chick Corea's Jazz-Fusion project, Return To Forever in 1974, guitarist Al DiMeola released his first solo album in 1976, named "Land of the Midnight Sun". DiMeola was 21 at the release of the album and I am surprised over his mind-bogglingly technical skills at so young age, and this album shows both his technical skills, as well as his songwriting skills very nicely through-out the album's (shockingly short) playing time at 35- minutes. Another great positive with this release is that DiMeola is themed up with a nice handful of guest musicians, including Jaco Pastorius from Weather Report and Chick Corea, who plays a beautiful acoustic duet with DiMeola on the last track. The music has very few weak moments and is a pleasant surprise to your ears. Overall, "Land Of The Midnight Sun" is a completely necessary release to be featured in your Jazz-Rock collection (or Jazz collection for that matter). The only real flaw is the short playing time. Otherwise, there's not much here to dislike. One of the best debut's I know!

Having recently shocked and awed the JR/F world with two amazing albums (Hymn To The seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior), Return To Forever was riding high on the wave it had created, riding on Corea and DiMeola's incredibly fast playing, displaying a monstrous but cold virtuosity that would eventually have a lot of fans grinding their teeth. ADM's debut solo album was another monster that would enthral fans around the world. This writer bought the album within the month it came out, well before he would indulge in Nucleus of Liles' start of the decade masterpieces, so for a few years, this album represented what jazz-rock was all about. Although called a solo album, you'd swear this could yet another RTF album as all of the RTF members appears at one point or another on this album. Musically speaking, this album is a bit schizophrenic, as 2/3 pf it is pure jazz rock,, while the last third is more eclectic, from Classical to
Starting out on one of the album's highlight, Wizard, with its superb rhythm section and Latin percussions ala Santana and Al's guitar, often Santana-esque as well. Starting almost on the same feel, the title track is a tremendous piece, where Al and Chick trade incredibly fast and virtuosi lines. But in this case, Al's guitar resembles more McLaughlin's while the Latin percussions might sound a bit odd for this supposedly Norwegian-inspired track. In terms of jazz-rock, this album would be stuck between Santana's bests (Caravanserai), Mahavishnu's best (Birds Of Fire) and RTF's Romantic Warrior. Closing the album's first side is a slow Bach piece (Sarabande), which might sound out of place, but provides a welcome interlude.
On the flipside, the album starts on the equally XXX , a progressive pieces that comes with delicate female/male vocals that could come out of Carlos Santana & Alice Coltrane's Illuminations. The lengthy three-part suite Golden Dawn brings us back to the album's main focus, a sizzling JR/F (can't speak of pure fusion jazz album yet). You'd swear this was McLaughlin with Hammer duelling/duetting back in 72 for BOF. The closing Black Forest is a Chick Corea-written acoustic piece that displays the duo's talents and closely the album in a very worthy manner.
ADM's solo debut album is one of the late 70's crown jewels, one of those albums that will probably never age and is part of the history of its genre. A very highly and warmly recommended album, and probably my favourite, even over the usually better rated Elegant Gypsy album that was to follow this one.

Track listing / Personnel:

1.    "The Wizard" (James Mingo Lewis) – 6:46
        Al Di Meola - 6- and 12-string guitars
        Mingo Lewis - keyboards, percussion
        Anthony Jackson - bass
        Steve Gadd - drums

2.    "Land of the Midnight Sun" (Al Di Meola) – 9:10
        Al Di Meola - electric guitar
        Barry Miles - electric piano, Mini-Moog synthesizer
        Anthony Jackson - bass
        Lenny White - drums
        Mingo Lewis - percussion

3.    "Sarabande from Violin Sonata in B Minor, (Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002)" (Johann Sebastian Bach) – 1:20
        Al Di Meola - acoustic guitar

4.    "Love Theme from Pictures of the Sea" (Al Di Meola) – 2:25
        Al Di Meola - 6- and 12-string acoustic and 6-string electric guitars, vocals, synthesizer, chimes
        Patty Buyukas - vocals
        Stanley Clarke - bass, vocals
        Mingo Lewis - percussion

5.    "Suite Golden Dawn" - (Al Di Meola) – 9:49
        I. "Morning Fire" - 1:15
        II. "Calmer of the Tempests" - 1:11
        III. "From Ocean to the Clouds" - 8:38

    Al Di Meola - electric guitar
    Barry Miles - electric piano, Mini-Moog synthesizer
    Jaco Pastorius - bass
    Alphonse Mouzon - drums
    Mingo Lewis - percussion

6.    "Short Tales of the Black Forest" (Chick Corea) – 5:41
        Al Di Meola - 6-string acoustic guitar, gong
        Chick Corea - acoustic piano, marimba

Personnel

    Al Di Meola: Guitars, synthesizer, percussion, vocals.
    Anthony Jackson: Bass guitar (tracks 1, 2).
    Stanley Clarke: Bass guitar, vocals (track 4).
    Jaco Pastorius: Bass guitar (track 5).
    Barry Miles: Keyboards, synthesizer (tracks 2, 5).
    Chick Corea: Piano, marimba (track 6).
    Steve Gadd: Drums (track 1).
    Lenny White: Drums (track 2).
    Alphonse Mouzon: Drums (track 5).
    James Mingo Lewis: Percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5), keyboards (track 1).
    Patty Buyukas: Vocals (track 4).

Mike Stern - 1989 "Jigsaw"

Jigsaw is the fourth studio album by guitarist Mike Stern, released in 1989 through Atlantic Records and reissued on July 17, 2007 through Wounded Bird Records. The album reached #12 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 1989.

This is a fairly typical Mike Stern fusion date, featuring his rocking guitar on seven of his pieces. Stern is joined by his usual sidemen -- tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, keyboardist Jim Beard, electric bassist Jeff Andrews, either Peter Erskine or Dennis Chambers on drums and percussionist Manolo Badrena -- and plays with plenty of fire, yet a good amount of restraint. Michael Brecker is a guest on "Chief," jamming on his fairly anonymous-sounding EWI. A decent effort, easily recommended to fans of the more adventurous rock guitarists.

This CD by Mike Stern reaffirms why he was such aqn important component of Miles Davis' bands in the 80's. This probably can't be called a "jazz" CD, because on many solos such as "Another Way Around," Stern squeals and crunches and bends his notes in a way a rock guitarist would , but also has the sense to run with the solo different from how a rock guitarist would by improvising his notes like a jazzman. His wood hardbody electric guitar that he features on the cover of the CD has such an interesting sound. Its tone is hard to describe, just listen to it for yourself. He rocks as hard as any jazz guitarist i've heard. Excellent CD of guitar work. Buy the CD, because one of the songs is cut out of the tape version. All the songs on this CD must be heard

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Mike Stern.
No.     Title     Length    
1.     "Another Way Around"       6:25
2.     "Loose Ends"       6:11
3.     "To Let You Know"       6:30
4.     "Jigsaw"       7:06
5.     "Chief" (bonus track on CD edition only)     7:45
6.     "Rhyme or Reason"       5:46
7.     "Kwirk"       6:58
Total length:
    46:41   

Personnel

    Mike Stern – guitar
    Jim Beard – keyboard, synthesizer
    Peter Erskine – drums (except tracks 1, 4, 5)
    Dennis Chambers – drums (tracks 1, 4, 5)
    Manolo Badrena – bongo, shaker
    Don Alias – percussion
    Jeff Andrews – bass
    Bob Berg – saxophone
    Michael Brecker – EWI

Monday, September 28, 2015

Journey - 2011 Original Album Classics [3 CD Box]

The original members of Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert. Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, rounded out the group. Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as drummer. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name "Journey." The band's first public appearance came at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.

Journey released their eponymous first album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album achieved significant sales, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Neal Schon as lead singer on two of the songs.

The ORIGINAL Journey was a superb rock band before their management decided to bring in Steve 'The Nose' Perry. While they achieved a lot of success after turning into a pop band, the original lineup produced excellent progressive rock and rock and roll. I saw them open for Blue Oyster Cult in 1975 and then again the next night by themselves, when they were on tour in support of their first album and they were superb live! Once they began recording Infinity and Perry joined the band, it was over for me. These are the only releases I own or will listen to as I am not into pop music. The first album is a progressive masterpiece by 2 former members of Santana (Rolie and Schon), 1 from Frank Zappa (drummer Ainsley Dunbar) along with Ross Valory and George Tickner (who left the band shortly after). Look Into The Future and Next were both more straight ahead rock albums with some progressive jams included in a few songs. This is a great deal for 3 great albums.

Sure, these could use a once over by a good post-production engineer, but I doubt that's going to happen. That said, these are still great records and they deserve to be heard. They're very different than the Steve Perry records, so don't expect "Stone In Love", because what you get here is much more aggressive instruments and less emphasis on vocals. This band rocks !

Disc 1  
1975 [2011] Journey 


Journey is the self-titled debut album by the band of the same name. It was released in 1975 on Columbia Records. Unlike their later recordings, this is a progressive rock album which focuses mainly on the band's instrumental talents.[3] It is the only album to include rhythm guitarist George Tickner among their personnel.
Journey features progressive rock tracks like "Of a Lifetime", "Kohoutek", "Topaz" and fan favorite, "Mystery Mountain".[4]
Journey recorded a demo album prior to the release of the self-titled Journey album, with the same songs, in different order and with Prairie Prince as the drummer. There were additional tracks, including additional instrumental pieces, that did not make it to the final product. One of which was the original title track of the demo album "Charge of the Light Brigade".

Track Listings

1. Of a Lifetime
2. In the Morning Day
3. Kohoutek
4. To Play Some Music
5. Topaz
6. In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations
7. Mystery Mountain

Personnel

    Neal Schon - lead guitar
    George Tickner - rhythm (all but 2) and bass (2) guitars
    Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals
    Ross Valory - bass guitar (all but 2), piano (2)
    Aynsley Dunbar - drums


Disc 2
1976 [2011] Look Into The Future

Look into the Future is Journey's second studio album. It was released in January 1976 on Columbia Records.
For their second album, the members of Journey toned down the overt progressiveness of their first, self-titled release, in favor of a more focused approach.[1] Despite that, Look into the Future still retains some of the experimental approach and sound of the debut,[1] especially in the title track and "I'm Gonna Leave You", the latter of which some[who?] claim inspired the main riff in the famous Kansas song "Carry on Wayward Son".[2] The album features a cover version of The Beatles' "It's All Too Much" from the 1968 Yellow Submarine film and 1969 soundtrack. The title track was the longest recorded Journey song until 1980, when "Destiny" from Dream, After Dream would claim that honor.
Guitarist George Tickner left the band after having co-written two songs for this album, leaving members Gregg Rolie (lead vocals/keyboards), Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), and Aynsley Dunbar (drums).

Track listing:

1. On a Saturday Nite
2. It's All Too Much
3. Anyway
4. She Makes Me (Feel Alright)
5. You're on Your Own
6. Look Into the Future
7. Midnight Dreamer
8. I'm Gonna Leave You

Personnel

    Neal Schon - guitar
    Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals
    Ross Valory - bass guitar
    Aynsley Dunbar - drums


Disc 3
1977 [2011] Next

Next is the third studio album by Journey, released in 1977. The band continued the formula from 1976's Look into the Future but this album also retains some of their progressive rock style from the first album. It is the last album to feature Gregg Rolie on lead vocals. "Spaceman" and "Nickel and Dime" were the two singles released from Next.
The instrumental "Cookie Duster" was listed in very early pressings of the album, though not actually included on the pressings, and then not listed on the cover art at all. It was later released on their Time³ compilation album.
Next reached #85 on the Billboard 200 Albums charts.[1]
Although he did not contribute to Next, lead vocalist Robert Fleischman joined Journey shortly after the album's release as a songwriter and the group's first dedicated frontman, sharing lead vocal duties with Rolie during subsequent live shows. All of the songs on the album vanished from the band's live setlist after 1979 and two ("Spaceman" and "Here We Are") have never been performed live.

Track listing:

1. Spaceman
2. People
3. I Would Find You
4. Here We Are
5. Hustler
6. Next
7. Nickel and Dime
8. Karma

Personnel

    Neal Schon - guitar
    Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals
    Ross Valory - bass guitar
    Aynsley Dunbar - drums

Steve Gadd - 1987 "The Gadd Gang"

Stephen Kendall "Steve" Gadd (born April 9, 1945[1]) is an American musician. Gadd is one of the most well-known and highly regarded session and studio drummers in the industry, recognized by his induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1984.[2] Gadd's groove on Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", and drum solo on Steely Dan's "Aja", are both examples of his seminal sound and signature style. He has worked with popular musicians from a wide range of genres including notably Simon & Garfunkel, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Grover Washington Jr., Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour and Al Di Meola.

Drummer Steve Gadd, one of the busiest players around in the '70s and '80s, formed The Gadd Gang in the late '80s. They only made one album under this banner in 1987 for Columbia. Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, Ronnie Cuber and Eddie Gomez played alongside Gadd.

Gadd has collaborated since the 70s with ace session men
Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee and Eddie Gomez with the group Stuff.
Bari sax legend Ronnie Cuber was added to the roster during the 80s
and the Gadd Gang was born. This is feel-good music, these seasoned veterans sound like having a heck of a time playing it scoring high marks in the trouser flapping department, great, groovy stuff.

Although he has appeared on a countless number of studio sessions, this release was (with the exception of an obscure Japanese date in 1984) drummer Steve Gadd's debut as a leader. The Gadd Gang (comprised of the drummer, guitarist Cornell Dupree, bassist Eddie Gómez and Richard Tee on keyboards) was a likable unit that blended together jazz, R&B and some groovin' funk. With the addition of a horn section arranged by David Matthews, the group plays Bob Dylan's "Watching the River Flow," and Wilton Felder's "Way Back Home," a medley of "Honky Tonk" and "I Can't Stop Loving You," and some basic band originals that can appeal to a wide audience.

Track listing:

1. Watching The River Flow 6:34   
2. Strength  4:27
3. Way Back Home  6:56
4. Morning Love  4:19
5. Duke's Lullaby 3:59
6. Everything You Do 3:46
7. Medley: Honky Tonk/I Can't Stop Loving You 6:53

Personnel:

Steve Gadd     Composer, Congas, Drums, Percussion, Producer, Vocals
Cornell Dupree     Guest Artist, Guitar
Michael Brecker     Sax (Tenor)
Ronnie Cuber     Guest Artist, Horn, Sax (Baritone)
Eddie Gomez     Bass, Composer, Guest Artist
Jon Faddis     Trumpet
Barry Rogers     Trombone
Lew Soloff     Trumpet
David Taylor     Trombone
Richard Tee     Arranger, Composer, DX-7, Guest Artist, Organ (Hammond), Piano, Vocals
George Young     Sax (Tenor)