REALLY obscure bassist...The Mahavishnu Orchestra!!!

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by The_Ryst, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. So I d/l-ed Meeting of the Spirits by these guys and they're fantastic. Now I want to buy all of their CDs. Great, great, great stuff.

    Has their bassist been in any other bands? have you ever heard of him? His name is Rick Laird and the Mahavishnu Orchestra is like crazy Jazz/Metal type fusion or something. They're great, and a guitarist introduced me to them. He's in a great group, also...
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Never cared for mahavishnu much, but I do like john mcclaughlin
  3. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    Especially when paired with Dominique DiPiazza. Wow.
  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Not quite as obscure as you think. :eyebrow:

    Great stuff.
    zontar likes this.
  5. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Do a google search, you'll find out he's been around a looooong time.
    zontar likes this.
  6. I guess they're quite obscure for my generation. I'd never heard of them, maybe if you were in the 70's.
  7. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Mahavishnu Orchestra is pretty sweet, one of my top 70's fusion bands. Rick Laird is pretty good at holding the bottom, but his solos leave a LOT to be desired IMO, and his technique is hardly amazing.

    ....I believe he's now working as a photographer...
  8. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    inner mounting flame is the bees knees in terms of rock fusion. i wouldnt want any other line up. rick laird keeps it together and in that group that is key. having a virtuoso bass player works in some groups, but that music was so orchestrated, i dont see how it could have gone over. if you listen to john's heart of things live with matt garrison, its good, but still doesnt hold a candle to inner mounting flame imo.
  9. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california

    thanks for the links. i had no idea love devotion surrender had been remastered. now im going to have to go spend some money :D
  10. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I imagine that a Google search will throw up plenty on Rick Laird. He was a well-respected double bass player on the ‘60s British jazz scene and was a member of the Stan Tracey Trio, the “house band” at Ronnie Scotts, backing jazz stars like Sonny Rollins, Roland Kirk, Ben Webster, Stan Getz etc during their stays in London. I have some video of him from this period playing with the Victor Feldman Trio, and he looks very different in his sharp ‘60s suit with his short slick hair! He is a much better double bass player than an electric bass player.

    Another young Brit bassist that was active on the ‘60s London scene before heading for the US to play electric jazz was Dave Holland.

    I know that Rick is a photographer nowadays and has not been musically active for some time.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Wow has Rick ever worked with Chick Corea? Scientology is about the most kooky wacked out "religion" ever.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It says on the back of the book :

    Richard Laird has performed throughout the world with many of the leading Jazz artists of today including Stan Getz,Chick Corea and John Dankworth.
  13. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    I saw Mahavishnu's live album lying around for four euros...would anyone recommend me get that? There was also a Return to Forever cd (forgot which one) for the same price...One should be careful with getting too much of all this fusion stuff.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Between Nothingness and Eternity..? That was great and actually the first Mahavishnu album I bought and was completely stunned at the virtuosity and energy of the band! :)
  15. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    I'll take that as a recommendation then. :)
    I know some songs from Birds of Fire, but I was a bit scared by the length of the songs on this live album. Generally I dislike songs that drag on and on...but if they remain interesting...
  16. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I was on drugs when I first heard Birds of Fire, and I flipped out. Then I bonded with that album like no other, just ripping! Yeah, the bassist did not stand out, but the music was great prog fusion.

    BTW, What albums should I get with McLaughlin and DiPiazza?
  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    One of my fav, bands.
    Got to see them live six or seven times.
    Rick just held it down, and let everybody else fly.
    He no longer plays bass, gave it up.
  18. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Between Nothingness and Eternity is an excellent album.

    They released a studio album recently which was in the can for almost 30 years The Lost Trident Sessions and the liner notes tell a tale of a very high energy band subjected to constant touring stress, arguments over material and music rights, indifferent management, and a label that forgot about their last recording.

    Some of that material is heard on the live recording also, particulary Open Country Joy.

    ( 4 Euro's - why are you still here?)

    I have seen them twice in concert, and am still in awe.

    Birds of Fire is an excellent recording, and one of the interesting footnotes to it is that Billy Cobham recorded IMF with a single kick drum set, but had just acquired a double kick before BOF was recorded.

    There was no real 'jammin' in concert. All there music was tightly written and orchestrated and highly demanding in terms of key signatures, time changes and so forth. Their live performances did not deviate from their studio material.

    Rick may not strike you as a great solo artist, but few people would even attempt to play a full MO set. I certainly couldn't
    run in that league, and don't know anyone personally who can. He held his own with those guys, and held down a solid bottom for them. That is pretty impressive, as they were probably one of the most dynamic Jazz fusion groups of the era.

    The real forces in the band were the triumvirate of Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and John M. The obvious interplay of
    voicings of these three trancended anything seen to that time in a fusion setting. While Charlie Parker and the 50's and 60's jazz artists were great, they never appealed to rock audiences the way MO did, which was a big breakthrough at that time.

    Typically, MO was not a band you wanted to have open for you. I saw MO open for 'It's a Beautiful Day' at Carnegie Hall, and I am sure IABD's violin player was ready to kill himself after he saw Goodman smoke him on stage.

    MO, though they appear to be loudly mixed, was not particularly loud in concert, and all the gear used at CH was quite small. JM played on an amp the size of a Fender Deluxe Reverb. His guitar of choice back then was a Gibson double neck 12/6. A year later he had changed to a single neck, as that guitar had fallen over in a dressing room and the neck was damaged. The Lost Trident sessions shows Rick Laird on a P Bass.

    Of course, at Carnegie Hall, the acoustics are so good you don't NEED a lot of volume.

    MCLaughlin had one other trick that I saw at another concert that blew me away. He broke a G string on the 6 on the double neck , and shifted to the 12 while a roadie strung the six while he was playing it on stage.

    John shifted back to the 6 when the string was on, and
    bent the note on the G to where he needed to be to play the passage he was doing. His arm flew out like a cobra striking, adjusted the peg, and kept on playing with no break.

    My jaw literally dropped when I saw this, and to this day, it remains an object lesson to me of tuning accurately on the fly, and an indication of how well he heard, and knew his instrument.

    I am happy to hear that 35 years later, their music still brings so much impact to the musicians who listen to it.
  19. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks, it took a few minutes I didn't really have.

    No drama on the vids, whenever you can.
    Put me on the list.