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John McLaughlin - McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits CD (album) cover


John McLaughlin

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars A year before Friday Night In San Francisco, McLaughlin and De Lucia teamed up with Larry Coryell taking the seat that Al Dimeola would later. Larry Coryell actually did a guitar trio album recorded before this in 1978 and 1979 with John Scofield and Joe Beck.

These three went on a tour of Europe in 1979 and 1980. This show was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on St. Valentine's day in 1979, which I believe was a Wednesday night.

Coryell and De Lucia kick things off with Entres Dos Aguas, which is identical Di Meola's Mediterranean Sundance. I first heard Mediterranean Sundance on Di Meola's 1977 release, Elegant Gypsy. I'm a little confused as to what's up with that and the Internets weren't able to help me sort it out.

McLaughlin and De Lucia pair off for a nice rendition of McLaughlin's Lotus Feet taking a little break from the furious arpeggios.

Next all three join together for the rest of the show starting with Morning of the Carnival aka "Manhã de Carnaval", written by Luiz Bonfá, from a film called Black Orpheus. I didn't actually know that, I had to look it up once I could make out what John was saying before the song. I haven't heard the original, but in their interpretation they sure try to play a slow song fast. Again with the arpeggios.

Then they do Mahavishu Orchestra's Meeting of the Spirits. Mahavishnu Overload, clocking in at 23 minutes and 49 seconds! Some might find it excessive, but they really use it as a vehicle for improvisation and the audience goes wild at the end. No they don't go crazy and trash the venue throwing crap at the stage, though I do wonder how many took the opportunity for a restroom break at various points during the song.

The disc wraps up with Guardian Angels aka Guardian Angel on Friday Night. It's a basic no frills video with no video extras. You do get a section of extras with biographies and discographies if you'd like to get to the guys a little better. They were written more recently. The camera work and sound quality of the concert are decent for 1979. Let's hear it for two steels vs. a nylon!

Report this review (#130490)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This DVD is a must-see for acoustic guitar lovers. The guitar trio at their peak. Although I still prefer Al Di Meola way over Coryell, he isn't bad anyway.

The quality is pretty good and the tracklist is decent. The only low moment that I can find is the dilated jam session on 'Meeting of the Spirits' (originally a song from the first Mahavishnu Orchestra's album), in which McLaughlin's crazy arpeggios could get you tired quickly. As for eight or ten minutes it is ok, but it's much, much more.

John McLaughlin is a perfect skilled jazz-fusion oriented player and all of us should know his abilities and virtuosism, but as I said before, he could become boring if he isn't versatile when it's neccesary. I mean, he's TOO perfect. In the other hand, Paco de Lucía shows a more versatile oriented talent; he doesn't need to be flashy and complex all the time. He has that damned flamenco flavour, and mixed with his endless technique, no guitarist being can beat him. Larry Coryell is repetitive sometimes; but logically he has the skills alright, at least to not contrast the other two guitar dinosaurs. Also, his guitar sound is very special.

Good DVD; I liked it for its lenght. Because I'm not a die-hard fan of hearing extremely fast guitar attacks all the time, so 55 minutes is pretty ok. You don't want more, you don't want less.

The highlights:

- Lotus Feet: short, slow-paced and pleasant. No insane arpeggios! Let's take a breath... - Morning of the Carnival: a tradicional brazilian tune. It's also long, but it doesn't exceed any moments as 'Meeting of the Spirits' does. Delightful and slow-paced too. - Guardian Angel(s): my personal favourite. A very fast-paced track, it requires to be pretty skillful to play it live.

NOTE: 'Entres dos Aguas' is really 'Mediterranean Sundance'. Don't know why it has the name of another track. It doesn't feature McLaughlin; only Coryell and De Lucía. Could be a highlight too, but here you can notice the absence of Di Meola: the 'Friday Night' version is much better.

Anyway get it, if you're a guitarist you're gonna to sell your guitar after watch this DVD (and surely most of well-known guitar players did so ;).


Report this review (#132016)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
2 stars This evening I decided to indulge myself with my second musical passion: flamenco guitar. So I searched for DVD's (I prefer these above CD's) and found work from Sabicas, The Gypsy Kings, Vicente Amigo and .. this DVD. In the early Eighties I have seen the trio McLaughlin/De Lucia/DiMeola two times, it was a mindblowing experience, so virtuosic and the crowd was ecstatic about all those cascades of scale-acrobatics, goose bumps! If I compare that trio to the trio on this DVD, I have to say that McLaughlin/DeLucia/DiMeola are superior, not only in a way of technical wizardy but also in the way of creating emotion and that special spark (in flamenco it's called 'duende', the very and rare special moments between musician and the audience when you feel connected). In the first track Entre Dos Aguas ( a huge hit single for Paco de Lucia in The Eighties) Paco does his best but there is no magic between Larry and Paco and it is no surprise that in the end only Paco got a huge applause for his awesome fast runs (picados in flamenco). The second composition Lotus Feet is a wonderful, a bit sensitive duet from Paco and John but the next track Morning Of The Carnical sounds too clinical to me. Then the titletrack with lots of jaw-dropping scale acrobatics but again I miss the spark. The trio John/Paco/Al featured three virtuosic guitarplayers who had their unique style (Al with his 'deaden of the strings', John with his incredible accellarations and Paco with his 'rasgueado', the use of the fingers nails like a mitrailleur) but for me the trio John/Larry/Paco is nothing more than a clinical exhibition of guitar virtuosity as in the final track Guardian Angels. It sounds quite subjective and in fact it's quite subjective!

Report this review (#132311)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars As a slight change of formula, JML and PDL found time to fit in LC on their acoustic trio, and to many fans, this incarnation is from far more interesting and superior. On Valentyne's Day, the group gave a concert that was televised (this writer remembers seeing it around that time, but was in on simultaneous broadcast, it's not likely) and later commercialised on VCR cassettes. As opposed to the better-known ADM trio, the LC trio is a much quieter and less flashy affair with the tension gone; the three guitarists are obviously much more at ease with each other. Not wanting to pinpoint ADM as the culprit, but this writer always felt that he was usually and needlessly over-competitive and that his trios were always a 400 mph affair where all three guitarists were trying to overtake, outdo and outflash/shine the others. With LC is the fold, there is nothing of the sort (or at least not much of it) and the feeling is at ease, quiet, collaborative, trustful and all around much better, artistically-speaking. And it is rather easy to tell apart the guitarist, as DeLucia has his own style but is never trying to be outdone by the other two (as opposed to ADM constantly trying to be more Spanish than Paco) , JML's style is more fluid, and at times still lightning fast, but again he's not facing the ADM competition, so he's more at ease. As for Coryell's nearly electric sound with his round-bottomed guitar, his clearly recognizable style provides much of the colour lacking in the ADM trios. One of the highlights is the JML title track and PDL's Entres Dos Aquas is also another peak. If you must only own of those trios, make sure it is this one.
Report this review (#308656)
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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