Music To My Ears: John McLaughlin

2 01 2007

iMix can kiss my brown ass, cuz I do videos, baby. Your response to the Django piece has been good, so I would like to share more music of my liking, choosing stuff between Metallica and Mozart. Eclectic taste, I don’t know. Curious, yes. Trymusical? Definitely!

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think I meant John McLaughlin from NBC? Yeah, I like him because his show is calm and quiet. Not so much his guitar playing. I’m sure he can play a mean version of Purple Haze on one string, but his whammy bar usage is out of control. Can’t do that if you’re a serious talk show host. Anyway, enough for now. Let’s move on.

John McLaughlin is one of my favorite guitar players, but what style will he be best known for? He’s played and recorded with so many great musicians and styles that it’s hard to label him. His Jazz roots are solid and it has helped him branch out and explore other styles. Whether it’s been with Shakti, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis, Santana, or Pace De Lucia, just to name a few, his style has shone through. Yes, one can argue that he doesn’t really play flamenco, or that he didn’t really play the Indian classical style. But then you miss the bloody point. It’s a meeting of two worlds/styles engaged in a conversation and getting to know each other. Both use a little bit of each other’s vocabulary to converse and, therefore, we as the third party know a little about each of them. It is then up to us to visit one or the other’s personal work and find out more.

My personal favorite would be his work with Shakti. Unless you’ve hear the title ‘Joy’ with your own ears, you won’t know what I mean. That 18 minute piece is a performance that has me exhausted and exhilerated at the same time. I was able to find a clip of a 1976 Shakti performance. It’s-a-nice!


Mahavishnu Orchestra- Live At Syracuse University

Shakti 1976

with Bireli Lagrene

w/ Paco De Lucia and Al Dimeola – Mediterranean Sundance

w/ Paco De Lucia – Live At Friedburg

Shakti – Live 2004

Remember Shakti- Saturday Night in Bombay




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