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Adventures in Radioland
John McLaughlin & Mahavishnu Orchestra
Adventures in Radioland
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Though it always served as a forum for his blazing electric guitar, the Mahavishnu Orchestra also represented John McLaughlin's interest in electronic technology and high-intensity group interaction as well. Those features...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: John McLaughlin & Mahavishnu Orchestra
Title: Adventures in Radioland
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/1987
Re-Release Date: 11/16/1993
Album Type: Original recording reissued
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731451939723, 0731451939723

Though it always served as a forum for his blazing electric guitar, the Mahavishnu Orchestra also represented John McLaughlin's interest in electronic technology and high-intensity group interaction as well. Those features are all present on this 1986 session, with Bill Evans (another alumnus of Miles Davis's OAelectric bands) on soprano and tenor saxophones, Mitchel Forman on keyboards, Swedish musician Jonas Hellborg on bass, and Danny Gottlieb on drums. This version of the group had been together for a couple of years when it recorded Adventures in Radioland, and it achieves a remarkable mating of instrumental virtuosity and sheer hardware. Guitar synth, drum sequencing, and sampling update the Mahavishnu sound of the 1970s, and the fusion genre as well, while the flying runs of a very gifted band continue the tradition. Electronic highlights include McLaughin's "Jozy," a funky tribute to Joe Zawinul, and "Florianapolis" shows the guitarist's lyrical, acoustic side. --Adam Rains

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CD Reviews

Thankfully Only A Short-Lived Phase for Johnny Mac
P. McKenna | Atlanta GA | 01/04/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Oh man. this ain't easy to write, given that I have been a Johnny Mac fan for years, but "Adventures In Radioland" is NOT a good place to start for the curious beginner, and best left where you found it for long-time listeners.

Same problems as the previous 80's Mahavishnu outing, mostly weak tunes, lots of high-tech gimmickry, painfully cheesy 80's sound quality (and those ABOMINABLE Simmons drums which sound like amplified pizza boxes) and precious little of the brilliance that Johnny Mac is typically known for.

"20th Century Limited" though is a notable exception and very welcome. "Florianaplois" suffers from a really cheesy sing-songy arrangement (not unlike something that would be played on a "Smooth Jazz" station) but oddly enough, it underwent a miraculous transformation with John's trio just a couple years later and came out a fire-breathing piece of great music! "Reincarnation" here with full snooze-inducing effect, was transformed by JM's trio into a breathtakingly beautiful meditative piece. "Just Ideas/Jozy" here suffers from high-tech clutter, later gets reworked by the Trio and regains it's plaintive funkiness. If only these original version were ANYWHERE near as good as the subsequent reworkings. The rest of the tunes are obviously calculated for radio-play at any cost, but just merely fall flat on their faces wallowing in gimmickrey and digital-synth overkill. The one thing different (though not enough to salvage the mess) is that JM wisely shelved that infernal Synclavier/Roland Digital Guitar Synth elephantine noisemaking miserable mechanism (read in Dr. Smith voice). Here he straps on a Les Paul Special for the most part, but unfortunately, his tone is so painfully tinny, metallic and lacking in warmth.

I will say this in its favor though, at least some of the tunes had good raw material that could be reworked into something substantial, otherwise, don't bother.

Florianapolis saved the album
P. McKenna | 04/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am a great fan of Mr. JM. When this album came out, it was clear that it had nothing to do with Mahavishnu, maybe because of extensive use of drum programming and Campbell's drums. However, the great piece Florianapolis, which John later released live (On Royal Albert Hall album) with excellent acoustic guitar and nice sax playing by Bill Evans improves the album great deal. With a few other nice acoustic and slow pieces, and with a powerful electric playing on The Wait, John managed to save his face. I gave it four stars, as it is very embarassing to give less to the great master."
I'd Give This 4 1/2 Stars If Possible
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is so diverse in its styles, sounds, dynamics, and themes that I find it very satisfying as a whole. My biggest complaint is the cheesy drum sounds so prevalent when electronic drums first burst onto the scene. I expected more from a John McLaughlin CD. Everyone else, however, is great, with bassist extraordinaire Jonas Hellborg leading the way (his brief, but incredible solo in Gotta Dance is a perfect example). And John's playing is as powerful as ever. From his thoughtful to blistering solo in The Wait (one of my all time favorite songs) to his just-plain-blistering playing in The Wall Will Fall, John does not disappoint. There are a couple of weak tracks on this CD, but the great ones (The Wait, The Wall Will Fall, Reincarnation, & 20th Century Ltd) elevate the overall quality of this CD to 4 1/2 stars!"