For that, I'll turn to the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the band's debut album, "The Inner Mounting Flame." MO set the bar pretty high in the fusion world, led by fiery guitarist Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. But it went beyond him. He had a uniquely trailblazing group of players behind him. On violin, Jerry Goodman could match him note for note. Jan Hammer had a sound all his own on keyboards. Rick Laird was solid on bass, and Billy Cobham provided some of the most muscular drumming around.
It was the kind of jazz that reached across easily to rock fans and touched them in a special way. That was the magic of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.