In 1971, he (Jan Hammer) became a member of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, (then) the most successful group ever to record and tour in the jazz-rock fusion genre, selling over 2 million records worldwide, and performing 530 shows before their December 31, 1973 farewell concert.
The question is how many is 2 million? ...and what kind of psychic space was the world in for music like the Mahavishnu Orchestra's to deserve a farewell concert?
I might argue that at certain times, when certain factors line up, things become possible for just that one moment which for any other reason make absolutely zero sense. The success of the the Mahavishnu Orchestra relied on technological development of amplification, the crossing over of standard jazz into electric expression, and the spiritual exhaustion of a people's having spent the last 4-6 years in a "turned on" haze, and wouldn't question rocking out to such flamboyant riffs of purity. Was the music of the Mahavishu Orchestra a simultaneous longing for a lost moment or feeling, and a reaffirmation that adults prefer virtuosity in music? I wish I could find someone who could make sense of it for me, as listening to Jan Hammer's syrupy solo on "Celestial Terrestrial Commuter" on 1973's Birds of Fire
leaves me wondering how much of what we now call life is only just circumstanstial events, development, repercussions, anonymous reproduction, mislead efforts that have occurred on top of that keyboard sound, the primordial sense of what man is to become?
Mahavishnu Orchestra N.Y.C. farewell concert
New York Philharmonic Hall, December 28, 1973