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John McLaughlin - Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) CD (album) cover

TRIO OF DOOM (WITH JACO PASTORIUS AND TONY WILLIAMS)

John McLaughlin

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.47 | 15 ratings

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Vibrationbaby
2 stars For fanatics of 70s fusion a cover and liner notes seem would seem almost superfluous for this one. The distinct musical voices of John Mclaughlin, Jaco Pastorious and Tony Williams are more than eveident here on one of the most interesting jazz releases of 2007 even if they aren`t playing in the same world at times.The tracks are all taken from a goodwill concert along with a host of other American artists in Havana, Cuba in March 1979 and it was the first and only time these fusion gods would appear on stage together which in itself makes this CD seem pretty signifigant. However well the rehearsals went the stage show was at the time considered by McLaughlin as an unmitigated disaster as a result of Pastorious`overblown ego getting in the way and there was reportedly an exchange of not-so-nice-words backstage after their 27 minute set. In order to "get things right " it was re-recorded two weeks later with audience noise added for release on two compilation albums of the show. These recordings also appear on the second section of this disc for comparative purposes.

In all only 3 compositions were played ( one from each musician ). McLaughlin`s The Dark Prince from his Electric Dreams LP, Pastorious`Continuum from his first solo effort and Williams`Para Oriente which would be reworked for a future project. The fourth piece was a loose jam based on McLaughlin`s composition, Are You The One? Are You The One ? from his Electric Guitarist album. A two minute drum warm up kicks off the live set until things go awry almost immediately on " The Dark Prince "with Pastorious changing the key signature on the spot leaving McLaughlin to compensate thus setting the stage for an overall inconsistent performance which went all the way from electrifying to muddled especially on the last live jam Are You The One ? Are You The One ? where they almost completely lose it again because of Pastorious`more adventurous style of bass playing. Nonetheless, the whole largely improvised performance has a raunchy loudness to it and we get to hear everyone solo at one time or another amidst the confusion which gives the listener reassurances that this isn`t going to be a total flop. McLaughlin frequently echoes his chops from sessions with Miles Davis as well as his participation in Williams`band, Lifetime in the pre-Mahavishnu days of the early seventies. Despite the lack of focus from Pastorious they manage to pull off his own composition, Continuum, much the same way it was done in the studio on his debut solo album with Mclaughlin adding his special touches while Williams` Para Oriente is the grooviest they get in the short 27 minutes they were on stage.

When McLaughlin was asked to remaster the material for official release he must have done some soul searching. although he wasn`t satisfied with the results of the project at the time ( which only had recorded no more than 45 minutes of material together ) how does he present the material in a viable way? The best possible solution was to release the whole shebang and let the listeners sort it out for themselves. Consequently we have a package that lasts no more than 45 minutes on which the subsequent studio recordings come out to be more focussed, tighter and of course better produced, reportedly as result of a dressing down Pastorious recieved from Williams !

Unfortunately there`s just too little material on this CD for either the players or listener to get too immersed in. On the other hand, it`s a piece of jazz history which deserves to be heard with all the constraints borne in mind as well, with the most glaring one being the possiblity of too much talent in one place! Perhaps Pastorious realised this at the time when he suggested the prophetic name Trio Of Doom. Doomed not to last. Nonetheless, Trio Of Doom is an historical musical document which is of special interest to the die hard completist fan, the curious as well as the serious musicologist.

Vibrationbaby | 2/5 |

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