Top Artists – The Mahavishnu Orchestra

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Inner Mounting Flame


  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that’s close to it, this copy has much to recommend it
  • The band’s debut here is a true Jazz/Rock Fusion Demo Disc with the Big Sound we love here at Better Records 
  • This album was recorded in 1973, only a year after Bitches Brew single-handedly created the genre of Jazz Fusion itself
  • 5 Stars “…a furious, high-energy, yet rigorously conceived meeting of virtuosos that, for all intents and purposes, defined the fusion of jazz and rock…”

This is the first album by the band, recorded only a year after Bitches Brew single-handedly created the genre of Jazz Fusion itself. Or is it better described as an album of Prog Rock without the vocals? Remember, King Crimson had a violinist and not a whole lot of singing too.

Whatever it is, mostly what this music wants to do is rock. And on this copy it rocks like you will not believe. The louder you play it the better it sounds.

The best copies had huge amounts of bottom end weight as well as rich, Tubey Magical grungy guitar tone. Once you’ve heard it sound that way, on the copies without both you’ll notice that the sound falls flat pretty quickly.

It’s hard to think of another record that rocks as hard, and it’s not even a real rock record! We find ourselves playing albums like Zep II and Back in Black for hour after hour, with dozens of copies to get through, and we do it on a regular basis. If anybody knows Big Rock Sound, it’s us. But can we really say that those albums rock any harder than this one? (more…)

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Visions of the Emerald Beyond


A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

On the first track of side one we will happily state for the record: no record rocks harder. When you hear Ponty’s double-tracked violins explode out of each speaker on the first track you will know what we mean when we say this record is as big and as bold a recording statement as any you have ever heard.

It’s yet another triumph from one of our favorite engineers, KEN SCOTT.

This may be jazz, but it’s jazz that ROCKS harder than 98% of the rock records we’ve ever played, and we’ve played thousands.  (more…)

Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire – What to Listen For

More Mahavishnu Orchestra

More Birds of Fire


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Birds of Fire.

Birds of Fire as a recording is not about depth or soundstage or ambience. It’s about IMMEDIACY, plain and simple. All the lead instruments positively jump out of the speakers — if you are lucky enough to be playing the right pressing. This is precisely what we want our best Hot Stampers to do. The better they do it, the higher their grade.

The main problem with this record is a lack of midrange presence. If the keyboards, drums and guitars are not right in front of you,, your copy does not have all the presence it should. On the best copies the musicians are right in the room with you. We know this for a fact because we heard the copies that could present them that way, and we heard it more than once.

Which of course gets to the reason shootouts are the only real way to learn about records. The best copies will show you qualities in the sound you had no way of knowing were possible. Without the freakishly good pressings you run into by chance in a shootout you have no way to know how high is up. On this record up is very high indeed.

A True Demo Disc

Birds of Fire is one of the top two or three Jazz/Rock Fusion Albums of All Time. In my experience, few recordings within this genre can begin to compete with the Dynamics and Energy of the best pressings of the album — if you have the Big Dynamic system for it. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Let It Bleed and Visions of the Emerald Beyond

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

This LET IT BLEED is a gorgeous monster. Everything just jumps off the page, so to speak. I have been listening to a first pressing Decca, which I have owned for years, but your copy made it sound egregiously insipid. As I kept turning up the volume, the room seemed to be nodding its head and egging me on to keep increasing it. I never reached the point where too much was too much. Great copy.

The Mahavishnu EMERALD was brilliant. It brought out all the exciting dimensions of my system. The exquisite strings floated above the musical melee which tattooed its obligato deliriously across its raucous underbelly. The sound reached out like tongues of flame making the speakers completely disappear in their rocking wake. This is an amazing record that projects and dances the music in every direction and then some. Everything is alive. So completely alive. A real treat. A great recording that tells me my system is completely responsive. (more…)

Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Jazz Classics


Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This WHITE Hot Stamper Birds of Fire has a side one that will blow your mind. Turn this one up and prepare yourself for the kind of sound that perhaps one out of fifty records has to offer, with cymbal crashes that really crash, bass that threatens to move your house off its foundation, and the kind of jazz rock fusion POWER that few groups in the history of music have ever been capable of. It’s 100% guaranteed to bring your stereo to its knees. Was it really possible to encode this kind of energy onto a slice of vinyl decades ago? This side one proves it was.

More Mahavishnu Orchestra

We tried doing a shootout for this album in 2008 and failed miserably. At that time, not that long ago when you think about it, there was no way we could get this music to play so LOUD, so CLEANLY, and with such CORRECT TONALITY, from the deepest bass to the highest highs, complete with the wild swings in dynamics that the recording captures so well.

The Audio Revolution Is Alive and Well and making progress all the time. It’s never too late to join in the fun. (These Sound Improvements really made a difference in our system and they can make a difference in yours, guaranteed.)

The amazing engineer Ken Scott (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century) is the man responsible for the superb sound here, but the explosive dynamics are not just for show. They’re here for a reason. This music requires that level of sonic realism; better yet, DEMANDS it. In truth, the sound is not only up to the challenge of expressing the life of the music on this album, it positively ENHANCES it. (more…)