I actually got into Mahavishnu while looking for something similar to Larks-era Crimson many ages ago, so I was happy to see others making the same comparison.
I've always been more of an Inner Mounting Flame than a Birds of Fire fan; my (old and probably faulty) reasoning is that Birds feels like more of an ensemble piece, without as many showoff-y bits as IMF, but as a fusion skeptic those bits really helped me latch on.
Highlight of IMF for me is McLaughlin's solo on The Noonward Race. Absolutely blazes.
« Back to index