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VIOLINIST JERRY GOODMAN HAS BEEN THROUGH
many musical settings in his life over the past three
decades, beginning with The Flock, the artful rock band
out of hometown Chicago. But, as stereotyping would have
it, he's most often known as an alumnus of the original Ma-
havishnu Orchestra, which, in the early'70s, shook the world
with its proto-fusion stylings. The Mahavishnu connection
comes to the fore again with the recent release of The Lost Tri-
dent Sessions, a jewel-in-the-rough, rescued from the
Columbia Records vaults.
Goodman recalls that Mahavishnu was driven by a "high
energy really motivating all of us. In terms of my musical de-
velopment, it was like on-the-job training. I was pretty much
scuffling to figure out what we were playing as we were play-
ing it. It was complicated stuff, and also, I was not the product
of a jazz background."
Because of the intensity, was it destined to be short-lived?
"ln retrospect, probably so. For me, it felt like the music was
held together by steel bands, as we all were, personally, on
stage. Eventually, that had to snap."
Since the influential group's breakup, the players scattered
in various directions. Goodman has been through a variety of
projects, up to and including a new quartet project, The
Stranger's Hand (Tone Center), with drummer Steve Smith,
bassist Oteil Burbridge, and harmonica wizard/keyboardist
Howard Levy. "lt's a very interesting combination of musical
brains," Goodman says.
They sport a decided "fusion" accent, mixing rock, jazz,
funk and folk elements in ways that sometimes echo Mahav-
ishnu sound, as in the Goodman tune "Glimmer of Hope,"
with its intricate 11/8 metric turns. Goodman laughs, "I fight
with myself, thinking 'OK, I can write another tune that musi-
cians will relate to and no one else will get...' Sometimes, I just
have to opt for the way it wants to come out."
-Josef Woodard-