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John McLaughlin - Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans CD (album) cover

TIME REMEMBERED: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PLAYS BILL EVANS

John McLaughlin

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars Let's be clear about what this album is; it is all acoustic, McLaughlin with a quintet of fine players, playing the music of a jazz master, Bill Evans, in arrangements that show the beauty of the original compostion, yet allow McLaughlin to extemporise and improvise. So in truth, if we're attaching labels, this is jazz, not prog. But if you love music of whatever type, this is a must. Sublime, enchanting, beautiful...this I have to admit is one of my all time favourites. The highlight is two back to back tracks - "Turn Out The Stars" and "We Will Meet Again". Wonderful stuff - quite possibly the highlight of McLaughlins illustrious career.

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Send comments to Phil (BETA) | Report this review (#99850)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Ricochet
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3 stars Time stopped after 51 years (1929-1980) for Bill Evans, but his work, influence and soul - put in jazz and music - definitely has an endless aura. John McLaughlin tries to create, with an easy brush we can add, a musical portrait to this time and timeless artist, making through Time Remembered one of his most relaxed, enchanting, bit sensible and pure, and elegant projects of the 90s (alone in the year 1993, the album books for itself both a singularly and ephemeral place, being just music instead of just an album). By reviewing a tribute album to Bill Evans, I feel a bit sad that I don't have quite what it fully takes to tribute myself some words to Evans; then again I can only listen to his music being played so greatly (first by pianists from the jazz family like Hancock, Corea or Jarrett, then by anyone else) to realize how time actually stopped, froze on Bill Evans and made him such a genuine jazzman and lead artist.

Time Remembered is a short kind of a jazz album, embroidering a couple of sensitive musical ideas into quick essences, when it could obviously pull a long, massive work. A bit easy to slip from one's mind, precisely to those that play it on a cold day of a mood, McLaughlin's success is yet that of creating a fresh blossom out of a concentrated (and no doubt consumed) art of tributing - so he creates easy jazz, but includes the pathos and the crafty feeling of relaxation running slow, if short. Beyond words and the chance of a prolific homage, for John McLaughlin comes the satisfaction of wearing both the signature of an interpreter and of a free creator; besides, the impressions on Time Remembered make a modest (re: humble) and clam fan out of everyone who listens to it.

McLaughlin doesn't work on something special for this moment, which automatically wraps the album in a unique small frame, most especially when future albums are of a totally different (essential) language (from virtuous soft art jazz to modern-sound jazz), while the previous moments from the running 90s had themselves a fruit of individual inspiration. By hearing the naked style in Time Remembered, the closest relation could be made a bit back with Que Alegria, the difference being how clean the guitar sounds here in contrast with how aromatic and authentic the acoustic heart-beat sounds there (of course, the artistic color also differs, trying only an arising beautifulness, instead of a fantastic crisp, in this tribute).

On the side of playing and thinking about the legend artist's music we find a discrete, yet overly mentionable quality that McLaughlin has in him and expresses convincingly. The choice of classical, acoustic guitar jazz, ornamented with improvisations that go by his preference, is just a way of covering the simple work of a dedication with the personal desires of originality and broad interpretation. Thinking deeply how a guitarist would become interested in tuning to a pianist's legendary works, the "special" in Time Remembered's session of 11 adapted pieces immediately integrates a bit of "natural jazz music". Funny is how McLaughlin's album isn't stunning at all, but doesn't even need a rich effect to be very nicely done. Many jazz pianists play from Evans all the time, respecting but equally coloring the nuances of his music; in reflection, McLaughlin plays greatly, with easiness and pleasure, being highly keen only to a carefully special acoustic sound, a sensible arch of improvisations and a very usual moment of music that gets artistically brightened.

Time Remembered is music and soft jazz for the ears and the hearts, of an awake spirit and an exulting charm. McLaughlin works on promising, high guitar arrangements, nothing though sounding of a heavy baggage. While some pieces flow just easily, and the lightness of the music falls very simply on the entire suite, there are good or precious mentions: Very Early, Waltz For Debby, My Bells and Turn Out The Stars more than others.

In a conclusion shorter than anything already said, Time Remembered is McLaughlin's classy tribute to Bill Evans, the good rate in these three stars reflecting nowhere near the good(ness) of the music itself, which is easy to discover, then to listen on very pleasant occasional times.

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#160207)
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008 | Review Permalink

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