Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Lost Trident Sessions (1999)

‘The Lost Trident Sessions’ is the last studio album released by the legendary jazz fusion ensemble Mahavishnu Orchestra which was fronted during the 1970s and 1980s by the great English guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin. It is a studio album released after the end of the musical activity of the band in 1999. The name of the album reflects the studio where its songs were recorded in London, more specifically the well known Trident Studios situated in Soho.

Frontal cover artwork of ‘The Lost Trident Sessions’ (released in 1999 and recorded in June 1973) by Mahavishnu Orchestra. Image source:

Released on 21 September 1999 through Sony Music Entertainment, the LP consists of 6 songs as follows:

  • Dream (composed by John McLaughlin, the lengthiest track on the album);
  • Trilogy (which is composed of ‘The Sunlit Path’, ‘La Mere de la Mer’, and ‘Tomorrow’s Story Not the Same’; also composed by McLaughlin);
  • Sister Andrea (composed by keyboardist Jan Hammer);
  • I Wonder (composed by violonist Jerry Goodman);
  • Steppings Tones (composed by bassist Rick Laird);
  • John Song’s #2 (again, a composition by McLaughlin).

As you can see above, three out of six tracks on this studio album were single-handedly composed by legendary ‘Mahavishnu’ John McLaughlin and the rest by his bandmates. The story of the album is quite interesting as well as these recordings were subsequently founded in the archives of the studio and later on released on album format in one discographical unit. Apart from John Song’s #2, all of the other tracks were previously recorded and issued on other Mahavishnu Orchestra studio albums.

Heading back to how the album come to be, it was thanks to late Columbia Records producer Bob Belden who stumbled upon these recordings in 1998 in the record company’s vault in Los Angeles while gathering material for a re-mastered version of ‘Birds of Fire’. These recordings were initially thought to be completely unlabelled, but, after some more careful consideration, they revealed the fact that they were most likely to be used for Mahavisnu Orchestra’s third studio album. It is fascinating to think about it… Initially recorded in 1973, then absolutely ignored for more than two decades, and then re-discovered circa 26 years later by accident… That’s quite something indeed… I presume this is the spirit of Mahavishnu Orchestra, after all, right? Between nothingness and eternity!

In terms of critical reception, the album received favourable to very good star-based reviews on behalf of the following specialized music publications: All About Jazz (favourable), AllMusic (3 out of 5 stars), Sputnikmusic (4.5 out of 5 stars), and The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (3 out of 4 stars).

Last but not least, as it is no surprise to longtime fans of this band, this particular album features a harmonic blend of jazz fusion and progressive rock of epic proportions! And, funnily enough I might add, the frontal cover artwork reminds of the design of ‘Heavy Weather‘ (1977), the iconic studio album by legendary jazz fusion giants Weather Report! Doubtlessly, the lightings constitute the clear resemblance between the two! Heavy weather: you can dress for it, but you can’t escape it!

Down below you can listen to all the constituent songs on this album via Youtube! I truly hope you will like them all and I wish you a most pleasant audition in the musical company of Mahavishnu Orchestra! As a side note though, my most favourite track from the album (and from the entire discography of the band, for that matter) remains ‘Sister Andrea’ well to this day. All the best!

Documentation sources and external links:

  1. The Lost Trident Sessions on (in English)
  2. The Lost Trident Sessions on
  3. Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Lost Trident Sessions (1973) on

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