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John McLaughlin - Where Fortune Smiles CD (album) cover

WHERE FORTUNE SMILES

John McLaughlin

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.10 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vibrationbaby
3 stars A great companion to McLaughlin`s phenomenal 1969 debut Extrapolation with a renewed association with supersaxman John Surman. Again, this is not really a McLaughlin solo effort but a collaborative effort with four outstanding musicians from the post bop school conducting elaborate free-form jazz experiments and sometimes is catologued under Surman`s name.

A rather less balanced album than Extrapolation with most of the excitement taking place early on, it contains only six tracks which are more or less improvisations over initially stated themes. Oddly, a vibraphone, which is mis-identified as a piano here on progarchives, replaces the prefered keyboards of the day such as the Hammond organ or a Fender-Rhodes piano. It definitely offers some contrast and we even get to hear a piece centered around this instrument. As for McLaughlin`s playing, he`s much more focused and sure of himself than on the patchy My Goals Beyond, where he can`t decide whether he`s a jazz-man or a raga-man while appearing as a Jimi Hendrix re-incarnation on the psychedelic Devotion, both of which are also from the 1970-71 period. He sounds like a jazzman more than ever here and Dave Holland`s double bass gives the quintet an even "jazzier" feel. Although devoid of any fusion or rock influences McLaughlin`s playing does get devious at times foreshadowing some elements of the firebreathing Mahavishnu Orchestra with heated exchanges between guitar, saxophone and vibes.

Overshadowed by the onslaught of the fusion jazz movement which turned ears away from purer forms of jazz which were uncontaminated with technological advancements and rock influences, Where fortune Smiles contains some innovative contemporary jazz in the free form mode which is worth turning the clock back for. Although a double CD package with Extrapolation would be a godsend, an additional ecclectic live recording of Surman & drummer Stu Martin from 1974 is available on a 2 CD set.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |

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