billberends.com - Treasures of the Spirit
G. Cavlin Weston's|
Treasures of the Spirit
Music of The Mahavishnu Orchestra
G. Calvin Weston - drums
Bill Berends - guitar
Elliot Garland - bass
Carlos Santiago - violin
David Dzubinski - keyboards
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I have been a Mahavishnu fan most of my life, ever since I first saw the original band play live back in my college days. Although I would never have initiated a tribute thing on my own, when asked to join "Treasures" I jumped at the opportunity to play this music since I have never really had a line up available to do so. I thought it could be fun, good for my chops, and provide a chance to revisit my roots as I do with The Berend Bothers Band which indulges my blues and blues-rock side.
Folks familiar with Mastermind probably know The Mahavishnu Orchestra had some influence on my own music over the years too, especially on our Excelsior! album, but in many other places as well. How could it not? This music was hugely influential. John Mclaughlin was one of my favorite guitarists and in my way of seeing things, Mahavishnu took off where Cream left off, so this is very natural for me although the music is still quite technically challenging!
Calvin has quite a pedigree, playing with Ornette Coleman in his younger days and recently with Vernon Reid, amongst others. All the musicians here are accomplished in their own right. My goals with this band are not to duplicate the recordings note-for-note, but rather, to evoke the spirit of what it was like to sit in the audience at a Mahavishnu concert 40 some years ago. Unless you actually saw that I don't think you can really appreciate the intensity of the experience, on many different levels. It certainly left a lasting impression on me.
Although nothing will ever duplicate the orginal band, I believe we have the potential to nail the right vibe. After seeing one of our live videos on Facebook Gary Husband commented "Very, very good work... The guitarist really gets the vernacular - more than any I've heard in any of the other tribute bands out there. He really brings the right spirit to it for me." Cool.
Update: After nearly three years with Treasures we have parted company. I wanted to bring some new music into the repertoire and that didn't fly, so as much as I enjoyed the experience, I felt it was time to move on. The decision wasn't personal. The audience for this music just wasn't there and I didn't set out in life to play covers. Best wishes to Calvin & Co. and perhaps we shall play together again in the future.
Free mp3 downloads - Trilogy | Dawn | Meeting of the Spirits - [ Marina Vishnyakova: violin ]
Recorded live at 92YTribeca Performing Arts Center, NYC - Feb. 10, 2012
"Treasures of the Spirit quintet playing music of McLaughlin’s MO at the 92nd St. Y Tribeca in NYC last night (Feb 10, 2012) heroically addressed the complexity, speed and power of unique, difficult, enduring and compelling repertoire - a feat rarely attempted but inspiring to hear when musicians nail it, as Weston’s cohorts did." "Revisiting, restoring and reviving music that was born years ago but has lost no vitality doesn’t feel like a desperate attempt to recapture an era so much as a statement of faith in the value of that music then and in the present. Jazz - fusion-manifestations included - is made in the moment and if the sounds fit those who play it and hear it, they are indeed treasures of the spirit. I came home from G. Calvin Weston’s show enriched by people out here collaboratively lifting earthy rhythms and searing melodies to the open sky." -- Howard Mandel - Artsjournal.com -- ( President of the Jazz Journalists Association )