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John McLaughlin

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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John McLaughlin The Heart Of Things album cover
3.91 | 28 ratings | 2 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Acid Jazz (8:19)
2. Seven Sisters (10:17)
3. Mr. D.C. (7:07)
4. Fallen Angels (9:29)
5. Healing Hands (7:36)
6. When Love Is Far Away (4:34)

Line-up / Musicians

John McLaughlin/electric guitar, acoustic guitar & MIDI guitar
Gary Thomas/tenor & soprano, saxophones, flute
Jim Beard/synthesizers, acoustic piano
Matthew Garrison/bass guitar,fretless bass guitar
Dennis Chambers/drums

Victor Williams/percussion
Jean-Paul Celea/acoustic bass (1)

Releases information

Verve Records #3145391532

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN The Heart Of Things ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN The Heart Of Things reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It is the seventh official album, within the 90s period, that marks John McLaughlin's masterful passion for jazz and for musical essences, as the creation is rich and subtly foxed, plus is a solid piece of work and art which to be envied, since McLaughlin even tries something different for a change, in very natural and optimistically crafty ways. First of all, The Heart Of Things rehashes what every other album of the 90s tried to contain: variations or improvisations of different music and perpetual stylings, by the same craft and love for music we already know McLaughlin has. We can already point out how The Promise was nothing but a big cocktail of diverse and popular themes, which could get a jazz healthy improvisation. Yet The Heart Of Things would be the perfect kind of cool art groove which to stand for "modern jazz"; and by all means, it's not dismissable to call this one part of McLaughlin's polished and perfect "modern jazz" sessions. A fine work, with hard to believe amount of quality and pleasant rustles. It is only sad that the orientation doesn't continue much at all, just this album and its great tour being the classy examples of the vibe.

The Heart Of Things is also the band of dedicated and talented artists standing behind and before John McLaughlin's entire dream, composition and equally dedicated force. Perhaps a young value that's present and encouraging in their spirit (and influencing McLaughlin himself), still the band is fresh and capable to play under enourmous concepts, without pressure. Aside John McLaughlin leading the composition and the guitar thrills, it is best to mention all these artists' precious work: Dennis Chambers is already a known musician in McLaughlin's solo work, but, almost here out of any other project of the 90s, his percussion and rhythm mood has an apart flavor and is in constant need of innovation - a combination done pretty amazing, sounding very pleasant. Jim Beard also worked before in guitar master's band, with an undivided attention to synths and keyboards - the ultimately great thing is that his magic tricks don't disperse into playing hip fusion, during entire sequences when the keyboard movement remains a rhythm itself. A new member is saxophonist Gary Thomas, a young timber in the jazz play, still a vibrant melody or adrenaline push. Matthew Garrison, Victor Williams and Jean-Paul Celea complete The Heart Of Things, under bass, extra percussion and bass again. As hard as it is to imagine John McLaughlin changing his band and a good part of orientation in jazz devotion, it does happen; under a single, strong album.

And if all this still needs to describe music's own lovable and powerful character, then it can be further mentioned the slow virtuousness and highly relaxed trance The Heart Of Things (or H.O.T, though it doesn't sound better) gets within the modern motion. The six compositions are deep and heavily focused, but their breadth has a lot of emotions, crafty melodies and unpredictable style shifts, even under the same (or stereotypically) impregnated musical spots and burns. A mix of movement and improvisation is treaty, continuously melding McLaughlin's tradition rhymes and rises of jazz and fusion, in a connoting touch with puristic and simple, nevertheless elegant new rhymes, unattempted before. It is Walter Kolosky who mentions that "McLaughlin's writing and mixing of the album clearly reflects his desire for an ensemble feel." and, indeed, the mix and small rhythm of this classy, moody or dark-played albums relies on feelings and even on the synthesized shine of expression. A bit of placidness or, on other hand, two main pieces, indistinguishably haze-drifting, won't please the ambitious character of the album, but the rest will undoubtedly apprise, since they also diversify (instead of playing pretentiously) the entire refined taste and eloquent excitement. Acid Jazz or Seven Sisters are gems.

This is a very pleasant album, also marking a "modern jazz" of good manners and heavy composition which will be more or less unique in McLaughlin's compositions. Together with this album, Heart Of Things-Live In Paris is also highly recommended, in fact it is an even more extraordinary good feeling and splendid mix of jazz, rock, fusion and modern rhythms.

Latest members reviews

4 stars John McLaughlin does not sleep at his laurels even at this relatively high age (similar to Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock) and tries to challenge himself to push his boundaries. This could be the closest stab at Mahavishnu Orchestra in the 90's. Instead of violin, we have a skilled saxophonist an ... (read more)

Report this review (#2342049) | Posted by sgtpepper | Friday, March 13, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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