Birds of Fire

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Birds of Fire
Studio album by Mahavishnu Orchestra
Released January 3, 1973
Recorded August 1972
Studio CBS Studios, New York
Trident Studios, London
Genre Jazz fusion, progressive rock
Length 39:53
Label Columbia
Producer Mahavishnu Orchestra
Mahavishnu Orchestra chronology
The Inner Mounting Flame
Birds of Fire
Between Nothingness & Eternity
Audio sample
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau(A-)[2]
Sputnikmusic5/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[4]

Birds of Fire is the second studio album by American jazz fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was released on January 3, 1973 by Columbia Records and is the last studio album released by the original band line-up before it dissolved, although Between Nothingness & Eternity, a live album, was recorded and released later that same year. The final studio recordings by this line-up would be released as The Lost Trident Sessions in 1999.

As with the group's previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. This includes the track "Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)", which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.

In addition to the standard 2-channel stereo album there was also a 4-channel quadraphonic version released during the 1970s. This appeared on LP in the SQ matrix format.

A remastered version of the album was released on CD in 2000 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a new set of liner notes by JazzTimes critic Bill Milkowski, as well as photographs of the band.

In 2015 the album was re-issued on Super Audio CD by Audio Fidelity containing both the stereo and quad mixes.

The back cover of the album features the poem "Revelation" by Sri Chinmoy.


Reviewing the album for All About Jazz in 2002, Walter Kolosky said of the title track:

"Birds of Fire," which opens up the album, is a fusion classic. John McLaughlin scares the hell out of his guitar with his melodic convulsions. If you ever want to frighten a musical neophyte, turn your stereo up really loud and play the cover tune - it's guaranteed to send him or her fleeing.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John McLaughlin.

Side one
1."Birds of Fire" 5:50
2."Miles Beyond"Miles Davis4:47
3."Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" 2:54
4."Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love" 0:24
5."Thousand Island Park" 3:23
6."Hope" 1:59
Side two
7."One Word"9:57
9."Open Country Joy"3:56



Album Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1973 Pop Albums 15[6]


  1. ^ Ginell, Richard S.. Birds of Fire at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: mahavishnu orchestra". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Fisher, Tyler. "Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire (album review 3) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 135. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  5. ^ Jazz, All About. "Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds of Fire". All About Jazz. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Birds of Fire - Mahavishnu Orchestra | Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

External links[edit]