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John McLaughlin

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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John McLaughlin Liberation Time album cover
4.03 | 19 ratings | 1 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. As the Spirit Sings (5:21)
2. Singing Our Secrets (5:05)
3. Lockdown Blues (7:13)
4. Mila Repa (2:28)
5. Right Here, Right Now, Right On (7:22)
6. Shade of Blue (1:37)
7. Liberation Time (7:49)

Total Time 36:55

Line-up / Musicians

- John McLaughlin / guitar, guitar synth, piano

- Roger Rossignol / piano (2)
- Ranjit Barot / drums, konokol vocals (3)
- Jean-Michel 'Kiki' Aublette / drums, bass (2)
- Vinnie Colaiuta / drums (1)
- Nicolas Viccaro / drums (5)
- Julian Siegel / tenor saxophone (5)
- Étienne M'Bappé / bass (3)
- Gary Husband / drums, piano (1,3,7)
- Sam Burgess / bass (1,7)
- Jérôme Regard / bass (5)
- Oz Ezzeldin / piano (5)

Releases information

CD Abstract Logix ABLX-065 (July 16, 2021)
LP Abstract Logix ABLX-065V (July 16, 2021)

Thanks to Mirakaze for the addition
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Liberation Time ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Liberation Time reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Naming an album "Liberation Time" in 2021 is obviously reflective of the worldwide public mood after a year of struggling with the consequences of a global pandemic, and indeed guitar legend John McLaughlin's latest album was born from his desire to give musical voice to the sorrow, the frustration and the opportunities lost to covid-19 and the lockdowns it caused, and to the prospect of liberation as mankind seemed to be overcoming this crisis. Sadly this promise has since turned out to be premature, but this album nonetheless stands as an excellent musical achievement. Despite its humble 35-minute length, McLaughlin manages to capture quite a diverse set of moods and styles on this album, playing with multiple ensembles and in a sense summarizing the many faces of jazz he has touched upon in his long, distinguished career.

The album is admittedly a little slow to start; the first two tracks are quite mournful in tone, apparently reflecting the negative emotions of a world that's been in the virus' grasp for over a year, but they also feel rather restrained and mundane. The album doesn't truly kick off in my opinion until it shows its optimistic side, which is first introduced on track 3, "Lockdown Blues", a solid fast-paced fusion showpiece with McLaughlin playing on even footing with his compatriots, producing a short but sweet guitar solo before handing the stage to Étienne M'Bappé slapping his bass like a maniac, Gary Husband pounding out an enchanting, harmonically daring and partially unaccompanied solo on his electric piano, and finally to drummer Ranjit Barot who brings the song to a close with a complicated drum rhythm accompanied solely by his Konokol vocals.

"Right Here, Right Now, Right On" and the title track aim for a similar emotional effect but are stylistically very different, dropping the bass guitar in favour of an old-fashioned walking double bass, dropping the electric piano in favour of an acoustic one, mostly dropping the synth processing on McLaughlin's guitar in favour of a more classic distorted tone, and mostly dropping the fusion aesthetics altogether in favour of a post-bop/modal jazz style. Both tracks are as bouncy, lively and stimulating as the best jazz the 60s had to offer; "Right Here" is again more group-friendly, with pianist Oz Ezzeldin and saxophonist Julian Siegel being given their fair time to shine, while the title track is very much McLaughlin's private territory, being pretty much entirely dedicated to Johnny Mac playing more wonderful moto perpetuo lines for nearly eight minute straight, while Gary Husband accompanies him with what sounds like the chords to Miles Davis's "So What": a tribute to his old trumpet-playing mentor, perhaps? In between all these furious jazz workouts are a couple of gentle brief interludes played by McLaughlin on piano solo ("Mila Repa" with its beautiful minor eleventh chords, and "Shade Of Blue"), which again sound predominantly sad in tone but with a hint of hope for healing and recovery. In this sense they are microcosms of the album they're on, created by an artist battling his own fears and personal struggles by making a heartfelt statement of lust for life and love for the world.

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