Archive for the John McLAUGHLIN Category

John McLAUGHLIN – My Goals Beyond 1970

Posted in JAZZ, John McLAUGHLIN on December 3, 2010 by whoisthemonk

John McLAUGHLIN – My Goals Beyond 1970
1987 Issue.


Could this be the granddaddy of both new age and the world music movement? Fresh from his sojourn with Miles Davis’s groundbreaking electric fusion band, guitarist John McLaughlin continued to explore that style with his own explosive electric group, the Mahavishnu Orchestra. However, he also recognized an affinity between jazz and Indian music, and began that investigation–which would later come to encompass his band, Shakti–with this acoustic date. My Goals Beyond is essentially two records: the first half a group session featuring Miles Davis bandmates Airto, Billy Cobham, Badal Roy, and Dave Liebman, as well as sitarist Mahalakshmi, violinist Jerry Goodman and bassist Charlie Haden; the second a solo guitar collection that combines originals with the modern jazz standards “Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat” and “Blue in Green.” In its melding of international styles, and reliance on acoustic performances, My Goals Beyond is both a trendsetter and a harbinger of musical movements to come. Despite the passage of time, few of the albums it spawned live up to the performances it contains.
Featuring: John McLaughlin, Airto Moreira, Charlie Haden, Billy Cobham, Jerry Goodman, Mahalakshimi, Badal Roy, Dave Liebman When John McLaughlin arrived in New York from his native England , the twenty-seven year old guitarist was virtually unknown in the United States. But in no time at all he would find himself an integral part of some of the most important jazz activity then taking place in this country, with a rapidly growing reputation that would soon have him acknowledged as the foremost guitar player of the 1970s. When My Goals Beyond was released in 1971 Down Beat praised it as 3a compelling new view of the most exciting guitarist playing today,2 and Robert Palmer called it in Rolling Stone 3a quietly beautiful LP, certainly McLaughlin1s best.2 As the years have gone by its reputation has continued to grow and it has come to be regarded as a modern classic. For the critic Joachim E. Brendt, My Goals Beyond is the 3record which really established solo guitar playing – the forerunner of hundreds of solo guitar records which followed – and, in my opinion, it is still the most beautiful of them all.2 Knit Classics is proud to make My Goals Beyond available once again.
Technically, the acoustic guitar playing on 1970’s My Goals Beyond does not approach the skill exhibited on most of John McLaughlin’s recordings. Flubbed notes pop up here and there, and although this album is famous for McLaughlin’s solo renderings of such classic tunes as Mingus’ Good-Bye Pork-Pie Hat, Bill Evans and Miles Davis’ Blue in Green and his own wonderful composition Follow Your Heart, Mclaughlin actually pre-recorded the chords and soloed over them.
However, no small amount of flubbing or overdubbing can take away from the fact that this album is a true masterpiece. MGB set standards for acoustic guitar playing which remain today. McLaughlin’s soloing and chord playing was a revelation even to those familiar with his electric guitar style. He snapped the steel strings with the confidence of a warrior. His playing was amazingly fast, yet still melodic, and his tune selection was unusually eclectic. He was coming from an entirely new place.

The most impressive performance is the ensemble rendering of McLaughlin’s Peace One. Charlie Haden opens the composition with an infectious bass groove, and the tune features crisp, snapping acoustic guitar and Far Eastern tonal colors. Dave Liebman is especially up front on sax. Other members of the band included future Mahavishnu Orchestra band mates Billy Cobham and Jerry Goodman. Airto and Badal Roy also come along for the joyful ride. Violinist Goodman, in particular, makes some very strong statements.
By Walter Kolosky.
His profile on the rise after Tony Williams’ Lifetime and participation in two landmark Miles Davis recordings (In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew), British guitarist John McLaughlin became a follower of the teachings of Indian guru Sri Chinmoy and adopted the name “Mahavishnu,” which would soon adorn the title of the legendary band whose formation was just around the corner (literally in a month, from the notes on Jan Hammer’s website) from this album.

My Goals Beyond was really the first album where McLaughlin revealed the full, eye-popping extent of his unassailable virtuosity, showcasing this in an acoustic setting. The album is split into two very distinctive sides. The first side consists of seven solo guitar performances. The songs are double-tracked, McLaughlin laying down accompanying chords over which he executes daredevil leads. Also on a few tracks, there is the addition of cymbals, at times practically subliminal because all ears are on guitar. This was a well-recorded album, and McLaughlin’s passion jolts through every bend of the string and wing-footed run up the fretboard. His guitar lends a tender sensitivity to covers of Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and Davis’ “Blue in Green,” contrasted against the elasticity and sheer fluidity on such tracks as “Something Spiritual,” “Phillip Lane,” and “Follow Your Heart” (perhaps the track that is most distinctively McLaughlin in terms of composition).

But as good as the solo guitar side is, it is the other side that I almost always gear it up to whenever I put this CD in the player. “Peace One” and “Peace Two” basically show where the talented musician was soon headed over the next decade with his explorations into Indian music via Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti. Here he brings together an eclectic grouping of Western and world musicians: the respected jazz artists Dave Liebman and Charlie Haden, future Mahavishnu enlistees Billy Cobham and Jerry Goodman, the Indian and South American percussionists Badal Roy and Airto Moreira.

These two pieces are beautifully mixed so that you can hear each instrument’s contribution quite clearly. My preferred of the two is the dolorous “Peace One,” and a funny observation is that due to the interplay between McLaughlin and the gently galloping motions suggested by Cobham and the percussionists, I thought for many years that this piece was in a sprite, very edgy 9/8 beat, before one day it finally hit me that it was really in a much less complicated, lazy 3/4 shuffle. I still like the former interpretation better, though have trouble recapturing it in my head after the 3/4 light bulb went off. “Peace Two” is much more joyful in tone, with a radiant melodic theme. In its twelve minutes, the band takes the time to loosen up on its structure and explore more off the song’s main path. Whatever your preference, both “Peace” compositions are sublime works, and evoke the same sense of awe as if walking into a holy garden somewhere in an Eastern land at dawn.

When you put these together, I guess it’s not a surprise that this album is regarded as a classic by many. And as impressive as it is, I would say McLaughlin’s best work was even still yet to come.
By Joe McGlinchey.
John McLaughlin- Guitars
Jerry Goodman- Violin
Billy Cobham- Drums
Charlie Haden- Bass
Airto Moreira- Percussion
Badal Roy- Dabla
Dave Liebman- Soprano Sax
Mahalakshimi- Tambura
01. Peace One (J.McLaughlin) (7:12)
02. Peace Two (J.McLaughlin) (12:10)
03. Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat (C.Mingus) (3:15)
04. Something Spiritual (D.Herman) (3:28)
05. Hearts and Flowers (P.D. Bob Cornford) (2:01)
06. Phillip Lane (J.McLaughlin) (2:35)
07. Waltz for Bill Evans (C.Corea) (2:01)
08. Follow Your Heart (J.McLaughlin) (3:15)
09. Song for My Mother (J.McLaughlin) (2:31)
10. Blue in Green (M.Davis) (2:37)

Continue reading


Paco De LUCIA, Al Di MEOLA & John McLAUGHLIN – The Guitar Trio 1996

Posted in Al Di MEOLA, JAZZ, John McLAUGHLIN, Paco De LUCIA on November 27, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Paco De LUCIA, Al Di MEOLA & John McLAUGHLIN – The Guitar Trio 1996


Guitar Trio is an excellent collaborative effort from three of the finest jazz guitarists of the post-rock & roll era: Paco de Lucía, John McLaughlin, and Al di Meola. Throughout the record, the trio doesn’t just showcase their instrumental skills; they demonstrate their musicality. This is sympathetic, emotional musicianship, where each musician complements each other instead of trying to out-do the other. For jazz guitar fans, it rarely gets more exciting than Guitar Trio.
By Leo Stanley.
This was only the second recording for the Guitar Trio, coming a full 16 years after 1980’s Friday Night in San Francisco, but it’s a fitting sequel. Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola, and John McLaughlin once again demonstrate extraordinary virtuosity, accelerated runs tumbling over one another until identities blur. Repeated listening, however, starts to focus on the subtle differences in nuance, especially in the compositions. Though DeLucia grew up in a tradition of Spanish flamenco guitar, Brazilian rhythmic touches often appear in his work, beginning with the opening “Estiba.” The American Di Meola seems influenced by music of the Middle East (“Beyond the Mirage”), and the English McLaughlin has strong affinities with the music of Northern India, most apparent here in his “Letter from India.” Ultimately, the impression of dazzling techniques gives way, revealing the group’s deeper empathy.
By Adam Rains.
“The Guitar Trio” of Paco De Lucia, Al DiMeola, and John McLaughlin join together again to perform their magic again with this stunning album. Although it has the same premise as their “Friday Night Live In San Francisco”, there are some big differences. One, it’s not live, and two, twenty years have passed. Although it is missing a bit of that live energy, this is an incredible album.
The Trio work well together taking turns soloing over the tune. The liner notes are kind enough to tell which of the guitar virtuosos is taking the solo. On most of the tunes, they each take one solo. Not only do they share the solo work, the share the composition work each taking the pen to write several songs each. The playing moves from fast and furious, to slow and peaceful. The rhythms are almost all Latin with a flamenco feel to them. “Le Monastere Dans Les Montagnes” is a good representation of both of these feels. The song is sometimes quiet, and nearly passive, and then with a burst of finger, the notes leap out at you in a rapid fire pace. The album opens with a very flamenco sounding “La Estiba”. Add in highlights like “Midsummer Night”, “Manha De Carnaval” and “Espiritu” you can’t go wrong with this album.

Once again, these three show the unique chemistry they have between them. It would have been interesting to see how this album faired if it was recorded live. These guys get better with each passing year, and I look forward to their next collaboration. This should definitely be added to your Trio collection.
By Russell Diederich
This is the finest guitar recording I have ever heard, certainly, in my opinion, the best recording ever for Paco, John, and Al. Most reviewers and listeners will disagree with me, pointing to the excellent ‘Friday Night in San Francisco’ as the definitive session for this trio. That certainly is an amazing date, but this recording is deeper and the playing is at such a level that I am blown away every time I listen to it. What is so impressive is the uniqueness of all of the compositions. On some recordings the tunes seems to blend together, but not on this one. All of the compositions are so different, yet so pleasing, that even after 30 listenings this CD seems as fresh to me as the first time.
It is hard for me to convey to the reader the superbness of the playing on this date. The 3 guitars are flawlessly, seamlessly and intricately weaving the music like a beautiful and complex tapestry, but the sound is always pleasing to the ear. There are no wasted notes, no irrelevant riffs made to impress the listener. The trio is creating and improvising at a level of communication that is utterly astonishing and amazing. I have never heard such power, beauty, intricacy and melody from any guitar combo that can compare to this one. It wasn’t until the 10th listening that I was able to even begin to appreciate the music on this date. I have been listening to music of all kinds for 40 years and I rate this CD as one of my all time favorites.
There are 9 tunes on the CD, all different. Some are powerful and quick, while others are slower, but every cut has some amazing moments. It is worth the price of the CD for the last cut alone, ‘Cardeosa’. This track is one of the most amazing pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I won’t bore you with any more details other than to say, if you are looking for world class musicians at the very peak of their creative powers, you must buy this CD! Listen to it at least 10 times before you make up your mind, because you will hear new things every time.
By Kenneth James Michael MacLean.
01. La Estiba 5:50
02. Beyond The Mirage 6:09
03. Midsummer Night 4:37
04. Manha De Carnaval 6:14
05. Letter From India 3:54
06. Espiritu 5:30
07. Le Monastère Dans Les Montagnes 6:14
08. Azzura 7:58
09. Cardeosa 6:35

Continue reading