When I supported Sanguine Hum and Tin Spirits (both great bands BTW) recently at the Borderline in London I was in the dressing room playing the chords to Hope by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Its just one of those things i always play when i pick up a guitar, not really thinking about it, a wonderful ascending chord sequence I've been playing since I was a kid. This got me talking to Dave Gregory from Tin Spirits who was also backstage about the Mahavishnu, about those chords. Dave is a really interesting fella and a great guitar player, he's also played with Big Big Train, XTC and loads more. You really must see Tin Spirits live.
We both agreed that with the Mahavishnu Orchestra the most important thing wasn't the amazing playing but the compositions. When people say a band sounds like the Mahavishnu they always have the fast modal noodles but rarely the stunning heartbreaking chord sequences. No one has really carried on that tradition.
Writing music as beautiful as Hope is really hard, whereas fast playing can be learned, like a good typist.
If you've not listened to Hope its here, let me know what you think.