“Just a little note of appreciation for what you are bringing back to life. This musical period was the beginning of finding my own way in music, and to hear you guys playing those tunes in such an unbelievable way is quite amazing. Great job!! Keep up the good work.”
Back in 1971, when guitar-god John McLaughlin left Miles Davis and Tony William’s Lifetime to form the groundbreaking Mahavishnu Orchestra, he was the first to combine the fire of Hendrix-drenched rock with the groove of Coltrane’s modal jazz & the ethereal Indian ragas of Ravi Shankar. The critics called it “jazz rock” (of course it was much more) and the result was nothing less than a musical revolution. The Mahavishnu Orchestra has since been cited as a major influence on everyone from King Crimson to Phish, and was in many ways one of the first electric jam bands. Not surprisingly however, the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra has not gone on to be covered or re-interpreted by the many bands it has affected, due largely to its extreme technical demands. That is, until now.
The Mahavishnu Project launches directly from where the original band abruptly left off. In 2001, this incendiary unit from New York City began performing their unique renditions of music from classic Mahavishnu discs such as Birds of Fire, The Inner Mounting Flame, Between Nothingness & Eternity and Visions of the Emerald Beyond while remaining true to the cutting edge improvs of the original band, and to McLaughlin’s stunning compositions. Their take on the music must be quite special, as they have received the seal of approval from Maestro McLaughlin himself and all of Mahavishnu's original members!
The Mahavishnu Project is led by extraordinary drummer/composer Gregg Bendian, widely known for his work with Pat Metheny, Ornette Coleman, & John Zorn. Bendian has received rave reviews for his (with Nels Cline of Wilco fame) Interstellar Space Revisited: The Music of John Coltrane (Atavistic), his band Interzone’s Requiem for Jack Kirby (Atavistic) and his sterling drum and vibes work on the long-awaited We Saw A Bozo Under The Sea (ZHR) by former Capt. Beefheart guitar whiz, Zoot Horn Rollo. Bendian’s talents are uniquely suited to the daunting challenge of another shining icon of creative music – The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Bendian is joined by guitar whiz Glenn Alexander (of Stretch fame), keyboardist Neil Alexander (from the incredible Pink Floyd tribute, The Machine) and bassist Peter Brendler (John Abercrombie/Jon Irabagon Band).
This unique jazz-rock repertory ensemble was given the rare honor of performing with original Mahavishnu keyboard master Jan Hammer who asked The Project to be his band for his first performance in over 15 years at MoogFest 2006 at NYC's BB King's. The performance was released as an amazing DVD, "MoogFest 2006" and features The Mahavishnu Project performing two songs on their own before joining Jan Hammer to perform classics from his solo career and his work with Jeff Beck.
The Mahavishnu Project are currently celebrating the release of Mahavishnu Re-Defined Vol. 1 & 2 [on the German ESC label] an All-Star compilation disc honoring the legacy the world’s greatest jazz-rock unit. The album is receiving an ecstatic response from fans and critics alike, and the band will tour throughout the North America and Europe in 2010 in support of this thrilling new release.