The Essential John McLaughlin

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
While it would be utterly foolish to consider a two-disc set by guitarist John McLaughlin as anything other than a sample of the wildly diverse career he's enjoyed since the early '60s, it should be noted and underscored that what Legacy does with this set is to provide a solid look at not only the man's gifts but at the way he's employed them, exploited them, and let them get the best of him for the past 40-plus years. There are 23 cuts spread across these discs, and they are cross-licensed from a number of different labels -- this should always be done, and it seems that Legacy is the only shop that does this consistently well. The collection begins at the beginning: way ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
While it would be utterly foolish to consider a two-disc set by guitarist John McLaughlin as anything other than a sample of the wildly diverse career he's enjoyed since the early '60s, it should be noted and underscored that what Legacy does with this set is to provide a solid look at not only the man's gifts but at the way he's employed them, exploited them, and let them get the best of him for the past 40-plus years. There are 23 cuts spread across these discs, and they are cross-licensed from a number of different labels -- this should always be done, and it seems that Legacy is the only shop that does this consistently well. The collection begins at the beginning: way back in 1963 when McLaughlin and his musical partners in crime, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, played Sonny Rollins' "Doxy" in the Graham Bond Organisation. The tune swings, even if it is a little stiff, but these were very young cats who were as dedicated to "getting it right" as possible. This gives way to the rather startling contrast of "Spectrum," played as a member of Tony Williams Lifetime with organist Larry Young as well as Williams (and predating McLaughlin's tenure with Miles Davis); there's "Marbles," from his Devotion album where the guitarist and Young played with drummer Buddy Miles. It's an interesting piece where it occurs here because it exists in the gap between McLaughlin's leaving Miles Davis and before playing with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It's a great cut, but it shines more for Young's work than the leader's. "Right Off," from Davis' Jack Johnson album, is here -- at least a 17-plus-minute edit of it -- and it walks the same basic terrain that "Marbles" does, though it is far funkier and knottier. Rather than just jump into the Mahavishnu territory, McLaughlin's work with saxophonist Joe Farrell and then with Carla Bley is highlighted here as well, spreading the color and texture to the corners a bit more. Already, he was a ten-year veteran of the scene and had become a very diverse member of it. Disc one closes with three tunes from the various early incarnations of Mahavishnu, from the debut Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire, and then on to an excerpt of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" with Carlos Santana.But disc one tells the familiar story, despite its ornament and diversity. The place where it begins to stray across many paths seemingly simultaneously is on disc two. While the second incarnation of Mahavishnu is where it begins -- with the cut "Wings of Karma," from Apocalypse -- where the voice and timbre of McLaughlin's insistent muse is making itself heard. The track "India," from 1975 and performed with the Indian trio Shakti (Zakir Hussain, Lakshminarayana Shankar, and T.H. Vinayakram), marks the beginning of an entirely new mode of exploration for the guitarist. And so it goes, through the new technologically savvy, fused-out jazz on Electric Dreams in 1978, the more restrained but no less mechanical Electric Guitarist in 1979 (two tunes including a reading of the standard "My Foolish Heart," which is drenched in it), and the mess that was Trio of Doom with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams. This is easily the best cut from that collaboration. There is a track from the Guitar Trio album with Al Di Meola and Paco De Lucia, one from Palle Mikkelborg's Aura experiment with Miles once more, and cuts from Belo Horizonte, recorded for Warner in 1981, and "Wayne's Way," from Industrial Zen in 2006. In other words, the strange back and forth and continuously divergent paths McLaughlin has taken -- for good or ill -- is represented here by many of his finest performances. Even if that assertion is arguable, the one that isn't is that he is one of the most celebrated, widely regarded guitarists in jazz history, and one that helped to change the music forever in the same way that Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall did before him. This may be a smattering, but it is one that will get you on your way to discovering what you want to of his work, while leaving behind the rest.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/26/2007
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • UPC: 886970683128
  • Catalog Number: 706831

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Doxy - Graham Bond (4:38)
  2. 2 Spectrum - The Tony Williams Lifetime (8:53)
  3. 3 Marbles (4:14)
  4. 4 Right Off (17:20)
  5. 5 Follow Your Heart - Joe Farrell Quartet (6:54)
  6. 6 Rawalpindi Blues - Paul Haines (4:37)
  7. 7 Goodbye Porkpie Hat (3:19)
  8. 8 Peace One (7:16)
  9. 9 The Dance of Maya (7:19)
  10. 10 Birds of Fire (5:44)
  11. 11 A Love Supreme (Part 1: Acknowledgement) - Carlos Santana (7:50)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Wings of Karma (6:11)
  2. 2 India (12:40)
  3. 3 Do You Hear the Voices You Left Behind? (7:47)
  4. 4 My Foolish Heart (3:30)
  5. 5 Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs (6:28)
  6. 6 Dark Prince - Trio of Doom (3:54)
  7. 7 David - Al di Meola (6:33)
  8. 8 Auro (Intro) (4:48)
  9. 9 Animato (Third Movement) (8:37)
  10. 10 Two Sisters (3:55)
  11. 11 Belo Horizonte (6:35)
  12. 12 Wayne's Way (7:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John McLaughlin Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Guitar, Electric Guitar
Jerry Goodman Violin
Michael Shrieve Drums
Ginger Baker Drums
Jack Bruce Bass
London Symphony Orchestra Track Performer
Buddy Miles Drums
Carla Bley Organ, Guest Appearance
Thomas Clausen Keyboards
Miles Davis Trumpet, Guest Appearance
Jack DeJohnette Drums
Paco de Lucía Acoustic Guitar, Guest Appearance
Trilok Gurtu Percussion
Jan Hammer Drums, Keyboards
Herbie Hancock Organ
Dave Holland Bass
Rick Laird Bass
Jaco Pastorius Bass, Guest Appearance
Jean-Luc Ponty Violin
Larry Young Organ
Palle Mikkelborg Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jesper Thilo Saxophone, Woodwind
Stu Goldberg Keyboards
Katia Labèque Piano
Jens Winther Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Graham Bond Guest Appearance
Bo Stief Bass
Don Alias Drums
Dennis Chambers Drums
Airto Moreira Percussion
Kenneth Knudsen Keyboards
Ralphe Armstrong Bass
Badal Roy Tabla
Palle Bolvig Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Per Carsten Saxophone, Woodwind
Stanley Clarke Bass
Billy Cobham Drums
Chick Corea Electric Piano, Mini Moog
Al di Meola Acoustic Guitar, Guest Appearance
Niels Eje Oboe, Cor anglais
Jens Engel Trombone
Joe Farrell Tenor Saxophone
Lennart Gruvstedt Drums
Charlie Haden Bass
Paul Haines Guest Appearance
Zakir Hussain Tabla
Michael Henderson Bass
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Bass
Gary Husband Keyboards
Bent Jaedig Saxophone, Woodwind
Ole Kurt Jensen Bass Trombone
Uffe Karskov Saxophone, Woodwind
Perry Knudsen Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Ture Larsen Trombone
David Liebman Flute, Soprano Saxophone
Alyrio Lima Percussion
Flemming Madsen Saxophone, Woodwind
Marilyn Mazur Percussion
Narada Michael Walden Drums
Gayle Moran Keyboards
Paul Motian Drums
Vincent Nilsson Trombone
Doug Rauch Bass
Billy Rich Bass
Benny Rosenfeld Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Bjarne Roup Guitar
Fernando Saunders Bass
Lakshminarayana Shankar Violin
Tony Smith Drums
Idrees Sulieman Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Michael Tilson Thomas Conductor
Lillian Thornquist Harp
Vikku Vinayakram Percussion
Ethan Weisgaard Percussion
Vince Wilburn Jr. Electronic Drums
Dominique Di Piazza Bass
Khalid Yasin Organ
Carlos Santana Electric Guitar, Guest Appearance
Joe Farrell Quartet Guest Appearance
Ole Kock Hansen Keyboards
Ada Rovatti Soprano Saxophone
Tony Ruption Williams Drums, Guest Appearance
Tony Grey Bass
Graham Bod Alto Saxophone
Axel Windfeld Tuba, Bass Trombone
Technical Credits
Carla Bley Composer, Producer
Miles Davis Composer
Paco de Lucía Producer
Michael Mantler Producer
John McLaughlin Composer, Producer, MIDI
Charles Mingus Composer
Sonny Rollins Composer
Palle Mikkelborg Composer, Producer
George Martin Producer
Richard Aaron Cover Photo
Michael Berniker Producer
Stefan Bright Producer
John Coltrane Composer
Al di Meola Producer
Giorgio Gomelsky Producer
Paul Haines Composer
Dennis MacKay Producer
Teo Macero Producer
Lakshminarayana Shankar Composer
Creed Taylor Producer
Ned Washington Composer
Mark Wilder Mastering
Victor Young Composer
Bert de Coteaux Producer
Bill Milkowski Liner Notes
Carlos Santana Producer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Mike Kull Tape Research
Jeremy Holiday Packaging Manager
Steven Epstein Producer
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Guitar Guru

    John McLaughlin is one of the most influential and talented guitarists of all time, and unfortunately, one of the most underrated as well. He has worked with such legends as Miles Davis, Larry Coryell, The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, Al DiMeola, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, and Paco de Lucia over the last 40 years, but most people have never heard his music, perhaps because the radio does not play long instrumental music or jazz fusion. He skillfully blends rock, jazz, and often Indian classical styles into his own furious brand of jazz fusion to produce some of the finest albums ever recored. This new album includes some of his finest work, including "Rawalpindi Blues", "Goodbye Porkpie Hat"(Charles Mingus), "Birds of Fire", A Love Supreme"(Carlos Santana),and "David". He is equally brilliant playing acoustic and Flamingo guitar as he is on his many custom electric guitars. This is one of the best jazz fusion albums to buy if you are a fan or if you would like to explore the career of this virtuoso guitar guru.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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