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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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John McLaughlin biography
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN is one of the most important jazz rock fusion musicians who goes back to the very beginning of the genre in the early 60's in England, was instrumental through Lifetime, Miles Davis's seminal works and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in progressing the genre. With his latest album "Industrial Zen", JOHN MCLAUGHLIN demonstrates he has still much to say and do in jazz rock innovation.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN was born 4th January 4 1942 in Yorkshire, UK. His mother was a violinist although JOHN starting learning piano from the age of 9 but within two years took up the guitar. At the end of the 50's he was playing with Pete Douchar & His Professors of Ragtime. He then moved to London. He first came the British public's attention in the mid 60's as a member of Georgie Fame's Blues Flames, in what BBC Four Jazz Britannia series, rather anachronistically called 'Britain's formative jazz rock years'. However, during this time JOHN MCLAUGHLIN was paying his dues and became a sought after session guitarist for pop recordings, while playing blues and jazz for pleasure for instance recordings with blues harpist Duffy Powers and working with Alexis Korner. He joined the Graham Bond Organisation (with Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker), had a brief spell with Brian Auger's Trinity.

British jazz by the mid to late 60's had begun to develop its own independent voice (rather than doing largely inferior USA jazz impressions). JOHN MCLAUGHLIN was first recognised to be a new innovative guitarist whilst working as part of Danny Thompson's Trio, (their album "Trio Live 1967", was not to be issued for several decades, however), for instance merging bebop and Wes Montgomery's guitar style. However, Montgomery was not the only influence; MCLAUGHLIN recently said: "I grew up in the 60's listening to the music of Coltrane and Miles. But even then the music played with Georgie Fame was good R'n'B. The Graham Bond Organisation with Baker and Bruce was a powerful band pushing boundaries. When I went to the USA to join Tony in Lifetime it was crazy. We pushed at boundaries even more, didn't we?"

In 1968, jazz in the UK took a major turn of direction moving from experimental, often free and/or atonal jazz, to take on board the energy and the electricity of rock - while many young jazz musicians were finding work doing sessions for rock musicians, in a flurry of cross-fertilisation. In 1969 MCLAUGHLIN recorded the ground-breaking "Extrapolation" (with his group of Tony ...
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ShaktiShakti
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Audio CD$2.25
$4.95 (used)
The Heart Of ThingsThe Heart Of Things
Verve Int'l 2013
Audio CD$14.98
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John McLaughlin Electric Guitarist [Blu-Spec CD] (2009, Sony Music Japan) US $18.99 [0 bids]
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN shows & tickets


  • John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension on 9 Nov 2014

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 48 ratings
Extrapolation
1969
3.89 | 31 ratings
Devotion
1970
3.72 | 27 ratings
My Goals Beyond
1971
3.10 | 15 ratings
Where Fortune Smiles
1971
3.04 | 31 ratings
Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist
1978
3.64 | 20 ratings
Electric Dreams
1979
3.11 | 17 ratings
Belo Horizonte
1981
3.03 | 12 ratings
Music Spoken Here
1982
3.87 | 15 ratings
Qué alegria
1992
3.67 | 11 ratings
Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans
1993
4.88 | 5 ratings
Molom - A Legend Of Mongolia (OST)
1995
3.54 | 13 ratings
After The Rain
1995
3.97 | 21 ratings
The Promise
1996
3.93 | 11 ratings
The Heart Of Things
1997
3.13 | 14 ratings
Thieves And Poets
2003
3.47 | 28 ratings
Industrial Zen
2006
3.72 | 15 ratings
Floating Point
2008
3.56 | 17 ratings
To The One (with the 4-th Dimension)
2010

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 10 ratings
Live at the Royal Festival Hall
1990
3.64 | 7 ratings
Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra "The Mediterranean"
1990
3.77 | 10 ratings
Tokyo Live
1994
4.43 | 9 ratings
The Heart of Things: Live In Paris
2000
3.96 | 13 ratings
Five Peace Band (with Chick Corea)
2009

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.68 | 7 ratings
McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live @ Belgrade (with 4-th Dimension)
2009

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 2 ratings
The Best of John McLaughlin
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Compact Jazz: John McLaughlin
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 17
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2000
5.00 | 2 ratings
Montreux Concerts
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guitar & Bass
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Original Album Classics
2007
3.41 | 9 ratings
Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams)
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Essential John McLaughlin
2007

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 After The Rain by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.54 | 13 ratings

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After The Rain
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

5 stars I seem to be hopelessly addicted to hear and evaluate just about any release that crosses my path - usually on others' recommendation. It's rather time consuming and only occasionally a fully satisfying experience. This in turn may lead to a degree of prolonged frustration. My birthday was coming up and I decided to treat myself to something sinfully enjoyable, for a change. You know, a bottle of decent red, a decadent pig-out at dinner time and this album to top it up with in place of dessert.

Recorded nearly 20 years ago, I consider "After The Rain" as McLaughlin's finest work since the Mahavishnu, Shakti period. Dedicated to the memory of John Coltrane, the album is a brave deviation from just playing Coltrane tunes the way the man did. No, this album is totally different and it works miracles. For starters, there is no sax featured in a tribute to the great sax player!

Undoubtedly, a most unexpected star of this trio is Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond B3. Actually, it's not a Hammond, but a Yamaha B3, built to fill the gap after Hammond stopped production and it's a superb machine with a rich sound that any purist would take to without reservations. In the hands of DeFrancesco it practically steals the show. Not that it would leave McLaughlin idle, who plays in a tastefully modest and elegant manner. Add Coltrane's former drummer Elvin Jones to the mix and you have a sensational album. From the first note to the last, it is pure delight, short of nectar to the ears.

Highly recommended.

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 Extrapolation by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.91 | 48 ratings

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Extrapolation
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This debut album by maestro guitarist sounds to me like a jam session music strating from first to end with practically similar mood. I feel joy listening to this album for example the first time I spun the opening track Extrapolation I felt like I was listening to Mahavishnu Orchestra especially on segments where Joh's guitar playing is fast in tempo accompanied by dynamic drumming and improvised sax work. For most people I think this album represents the kind of music that combines the contribution of guitar and sax played by John Surman. It's quite clear at the opening track that the combined jazzy style and improvised guitar and sax is the name of the game this album is trying to convey to the listeners. I am not saying that bass and drums do not play significant roles. Indeed they are because the bass playing is dynamic and the drumming provides jazz beats throughout the album. John is quite smart on this by providing bass and drums also portion to do their solo in Pete the Poet track.

Overall this is a very enjoyable jazz rock album with relatively excellent sonic production. avid guitar and sax solo would enjoy this album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Extrapolation by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.91 | 48 ratings

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Extrapolation
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Extrapolation is not, I should stress, an album especially reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, aside from being a jazz fusion album, so if you go in expecting a dry run for The Inner Mounting Flame disappointment is likely. For the most part, preceding as it does breakthrough sessions like the Bitches' Brew sessions it cannot help but reflecting an earlier stage of jazz fusion which is rooted more in the post-bop music which was the major jazz trend prior to the rise of fusion. Still, it's an interesting early fusion album which shows how McLaughlin was already a distinctive and characterful guitarist even at this early phase of his career.

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 Montreux Concerts by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Montreux Concerts
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

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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 Where Fortune Smiles by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.10 | 15 ratings

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Where Fortune Smiles
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though it is often regarded as an album recorded under the leadership of guitarist John McLaughlin, Where Fortune Smiles is more truthfully an equal collaboration between McLaughlin and saxophonist John Surman. Recorded in 1970 and released the following year, this is an ambitious free-jazz release that hardly resembles the style of fusion that McLaughlin is most renowned for. With its loose structure and dissonant melodies, Where Fortune Smiles may not be an album for everybody, but it's still an interesting purchase for curious jazz collectors.

As I've previously mentioned, Where Fortune Smiles should not be looked at as a John McLaughlin solo observation, and maybe even viewing it as a collaboration between McLaughlin and Surman is a bit unfair. Although all of the tracks are credited to the aforementioned musicians, the compositions are so loose in their structure that the direction of the music largely depends on where the soloist decides to take the piece and how bassist Dave Holland and drummer Stu Martin decide to hold the song together. It's a challenging listen for sure, especially if you're not well-versed in free jazz, but each track still has a distinct melody to latch onto. The solos are consistently enjoyable, with Karl Berger's frantic vibraphone work stealing the show for me. The man's playing is simply outstanding, and the other musicians deliver great performances as well.

Some of the tracks here - namely, "Glancing Backwards", "New Place, Old Place", and "Hope" - are totally off the wall jam sessions, but there are some more mellow tracks to break up the madness with "Earth Bound Hearts" and "Where Fortune Smiles". The former features some nice soloing from John Surman, and the latter has some great melodic playing from both John McLaughlin and Karl Berger. While I wouldn't call either of them particularly standout tracks, they serve as effective breaks from the dense and highly improvisational nature of the other tunes.

On the whole, it's a bit tough to recommend Where Fortune Smiles since it is such an improvisational and difficult listen, but I don't think avant-jazz aficionados would regret picking this one up at all. While I personally demand a bit more structure from my jazz music, I still found plenty to enjoy here. Where Fortune Smiles is a cool little album from a quintet that I wish recorded more material, and while it may not be essential, it's a nice bridge between free jazz, post-bop, and fusion.

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 Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.41 | 9 ratings

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Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams)
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For a lot of Jazz Rock / Fusion fans out there this is a dream trio if there ever was one. John McLaughlin on guitar, Tony Williams on drums and Jaco Pastorius on bass. Sadly 2 of the 3 are no longer with us. Jaco came up with the name TRIO OF DOOM for the band. This really was a one-off performance as they were invited along with many CBS recording artists (including WEATHER REPORT who Jaco was playing with at the time) to Cuba for a cultural exchange of music in 1979. It became known as "The Bay Of Gigs" to the artists. This was a 3 night affair in Havana, Cuba sponsored by the U.S. State Department. It was the first time in two decades that Cubans and Americans shared the same stage. TRIO OF DOOM had 25 minutes to do their thing. Five days after their performance they re-recorded three of the tracks at Columbia Studios in New York bringing the combined studio and live songs up to 39 minutes and enough to release on an album.

We get the live show first opening with a drum solo from Tony called "Drum Improvisation". It blends into McLaughlins "Dark Prince" the most energetic track on here. The problem with this one is knowing who to focus on. This is lights out good as all three guys let their hair down. Beyond amazing ! "Continuum" is Jaco's composition and it's a beautiful laid back track but there is this underlying power that never raises it's head but you know it's there. The band is introduced to the audience after this song. "Para Oriente" is a Williams composed track and is quite powerful at times. McLaughlin lays down some fire later then a calm ends it. "Are You The One, Are You The One ?" is the final live track and a McLaughlin song. John recorded this with Jack Bruce and Tony Williams on his solo record called "Electric Guitarist". Killer drumming to open then they get into this groove a minute in. This is a monster. Check out the bass after 3 minutes. A big roar from the crowd when they finish. The studio tracks are "Dark Prince" , "Continuum" and "Para Oriente" and while they are more polished they do standup well to the fiery energy of their live counterparts.

For me this is a no-brainer at 4 stars. I have the remastered version and there's a blurb from John about the experience of working with these two legends among other things.

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 To The One (with the 4-th Dimension) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.56 | 17 ratings

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To The One (with the 4-th Dimension)
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars There was a time when John McLaughlin was one of the more interesting up and coming guitar players out there. In his early work with Miles and Tony Williams, plus on his solo album 'Extrapolation', he sounded like a cross between Barney Kessel's risk taking speed and Larry Coryell's rockin blues roots. Although his subsequent projects, Mahavishnu and Shakti, showed a tendency to get a bit heavy handed, he was still one of the more happening guitarists out there. Then something happened to John, the fuzak movement of the 80s seemed to sap all his creativity and take all the fire out of his playing. After a while I mostly lost touch with what McLaughlin was up to. Except for attending an excellent trio date he had with Dennis Chambers and Joey DeFrancesco in the 90s, I hadn't listened to much McLaughlin at all until a friend sent this new CD of his.

'To the One' is a very pleasant surprise. A lot of the fire has returned to McLaughlin's playing, although it is dulled somewhat by today's overly digital sound and production, still long time fans of his will find a lot to enjoy on here. CD opener 'Discovery' delivers the goods right off the bat with a high speed fusion number that has McLaughlin burning up the neck of his guitar with far more precision and accuracy then he had in his youth. Elsewhere on the album, "The Fine Line' uses some heavy odd-metered guitar riffs that might remind some of the old Mahavishnu days and 'Recovery' is an excellent piece of high speed hyper-funk that bassist Etennne M'Bappe uses as a showcase for his ample skills. The other songs on here have that modern jazz style that is a cross between swing based post bop and Latin based fusion.

If I had one complaint about this album it would be the overly digital sound that plagues so much of modern fusion. The old fusion cats need to take a tip from their younger brothers and sisters in the acid jazz scene and ditch the compressor and digital effects board and get a real Fender Rhodes, a Gibson with natural distortion and a slightly out of tune old school analog synthesizer.

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 Five Peace Band (with Chick Corea) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Live, 2009
3.96 | 13 ratings

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Five Peace Band (with Chick Corea)
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars According to the liner notes this project was Chick Corea's idea and he also picked the musicians to play on it. He and John McLaughlin have been friends for many years. John first heard Chick play in 1967 and he was soon telling anyone who would listed that Corea would soon be with Miles Davis because he was that good. Well his predictions came true as Chick joined Miles in 1968. John would meet Chick in 1969 for the first time for the recording of "In A Silent Way". This "Five Peace Band" is a live recording and as a bonus Herbie Hancock guests on one track, and in my opinion it's far and away the best one. Oh it's happens to be called "In A Silent Way". It's interesting though because that composition out-shines everything else on here, it's not even close in my opinion. And I guess that's my issue with this almost 140 minute double disc, the songs just aren't that great.Yes they are good and I enjoy them somewhat but when you here a track like "In A Silent Way" well there's no comparison i'm afraid. Also I find this album a little too lightweight. Not dynamic enough. I'm reminded of Pat Metheny's "The Way Up" in that it's flawlessly played and impressive to listen to but it's missing the things that I love about Jazz / Fusion.The experimentation, the raw energy and fire, none of that is there on either album in my opinion. It might be because i'm not into traditional Jazz in the least. "Kind Of Blue" lacks everything i'm talking about above and no i'm not a fan of it because it's not electric and it's from the fifties. I don't care how important it was."In A Silent Way" and NUCLEUS' "Eleastic Rock" mean way more to me. Okay the rant is over.

Anyway i'm not going to go track by track because to be honest we get very similar patterens with each of them.The piano will lead and when he stops the crowd will cheer, then the guitar will lead and when he stops the crowd will cheer, then the sax will lead...well you get the picture. It's all played so well and I do enjoy a lot of it but as you can probably tell i'll stick with the late sixties and seventies Jazz / Fusion thankyou. It was much more exciting and adventerous. Still this is good for those who are fans of these legends, just don't get your hopes too high.

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 McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover DVD/Video, 1980
3.68 | 7 ratings

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McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.41 | 9 ratings

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Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams)
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Extremely interesting recordings for every McLaughlin (or Jaco) fan. Recorded live during concert in Havana,Cuba in 1979, its were released in 2007 only. When you'll start listening, you will easily understand why.

Three great fusion musicians -John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams play life set! Such an attractive release! The problem is there are not enough recorded materials for quality release, so this album is more kind of compilation (only first 5 compositions are recorded life in Havana, five others are studio recordings and their out-takes).

Another negative result of such luck of material is that there is added everything, what had even small chance to be counted as musical recording. Big part of live recordings sound as rehearsal, even mistakes when played were added on CD!.

Sound quality is a bit unusual - not bad, without over-loops and studio tricks, clear and very natural, but sound mix is extremely dis-balanced. Drums attacks sound as explosions over the whole sound, John's guitar is somewhere on the back and sounds really shy! Bass is rich, but not deep.

Third problem is if even named as band (" Trio Of Doom"), musicians stayed just three extra level professionals, everyone playing his own music. And it feels!

In all, this release is real mixed bag! Some excellent moments presented here and there, and in few places Trio even sounds as real band, showing what a potential they could have playing together. But as album, it sounds more as collection of rough material and out-takes from the vaults (and it's true!).

Very interesting release for real fan of anyone of three artists, for casual listener possibly should be better avoided.

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