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John McLaughlin - Montreux Concerts CD (album) cover

MONTREUX CONCERTS

John McLaughlin

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars Montreux - the place to be!

I admit, these 17 and often very long CDs are quite a mouthful to explore with due attention. Indeed, as an admirer of McLaughlin's works in general, I have been sitting on this Box-set for a very long time now, taking it in in small doses.

These Live recordings were made between 1974 to 1999 and to my best knowledge none of them were released before, either individually, or as a whole. It features McLaughlin's numerous collaborations during those years. Starting with the second incarnation of Mahavishnu (with Ponty), Shakti, Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea, Santana, et al, it's a kaleidoscope that showcases the artist's versatile talents.

A notable absence is the first Mahavishnu Orchestra. I am not sure if they didn't make it to Montreux, or perhaps the recording quality wasn't good enough to release? (Suffice to say, there are a great number of their performances in circulation. Some more legitimate than others and the recording quality varies between horrible and quite good.)

Well, this set of CDs are quite a handful and not for the faint hearted to fool around with. The compositions vary between long, very long and extremely long and require due respect and attention. Often rather different and,or extended versions of the original tunes. In turn, it's almost a new experience bordering on as if hearing them for the first time

Describing the works individually would be a gigantic task, something I won't even attempt here. Some performances are sensational, others represent historical milestones in the artist's career. Whilst not everything here pleases enormously, the package as a whole is excellent. It also pays to remember that this is only, but part of McLaughlin's massive output.

To compile this enormous material is to the credit of the record company as well as the Festival organizers. And that's before we even consider the efforts of composing, rehearsing and performing. mixing and mastering all this material. A big thank you for all involved, I couldn't possibly rate it under 5 big ones. An absolute collectors item - in a positive sense!

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Posted Thursday, May 09, 2013 | Review Permalink

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