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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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John McLaughlin biography
Born 4th January 1942 in Kirk Sandall, Yorkshire, England

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's 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 ...
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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)

3.93 | 82 ratings
Extrapolation
1969
3.90 | 64 ratings
Devotion
1970
3.66 | 52 ratings
My Goals Beyond
1971
3.14 | 34 ratings
Where Fortune Smiles
1971
3.36 | 56 ratings
Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist
1978
3.84 | 42 ratings
Electric Dreams
1979
3.84 | 37 ratings
Belo Horizonte
1981
3.26 | 26 ratings
Music Spoken Here
1982
3.89 | 30 ratings
Qué alegria
1992
4.10 | 22 ratings
Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans
1993
4.54 | 16 ratings
Molom - A Legend Of Mongolia (OST)
1995
3.61 | 23 ratings
After The Rain
1995
3.92 | 42 ratings
The Promise
1996
3.91 | 28 ratings
The Heart Of Things
1997
3.22 | 27 ratings
Thieves And Poets
2003
3.57 | 38 ratings
Industrial Zen
2006
3.78 | 26 ratings
Floating Point
2008
3.69 | 27 ratings
To The One (with the 4-th Dimension)
2010
3.45 | 13 ratings
Now Here This (with The 4th Dimension)
2012
3.87 | 15 ratings
Black Light
2015
4.12 | 15 ratings
Liberation Time
2021

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

4.43 | 21 ratings
Live at the Royal Festival Hall
1990
3.67 | 18 ratings
Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra "The Mediterranean"
1990
3.77 | 17 ratings
Tokyo Live
1994
4.44 | 17 ratings
The Heart of Things: Live In Paris
2000
4.00 | 3 ratings
Official Pirate: The Best Of The American Tour
2007
3.95 | 21 ratings
Five Peace Band (with Chick Corea)
2009
4.17 | 12 ratings
The Boston Record (with The 4th Dimension)
2014

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

3.70 | 8 ratings
McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits
1980
4.08 | 3 ratings
Live @ Belgrade (with 4-th Dimension)
2009

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

3.09 | 3 ratings
The Best of John McLaughlin
1980
4.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits
1990
4.00 | 2 ratings
Compact Jazz: John McLaughlin
1993
5.00 | 1 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 17
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2000
4.85 | 4 ratings
Montreux Concerts
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guitar & Bass
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Original Album Classics
2007
3.53 | 18 ratings
Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams)
2007
4.03 | 3 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
 Belo Horizonte by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.84 | 37 ratings

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Belo Horizonte
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A very eclectic yet surprisingly lush and atmospheric contribution to the jazz lexicon from this ephemeral yet often-fiery musician, the fact that it comes during his courtship (and collaboration) with soon-to-be wife, Katia Labèque as well as to the beginning of his now life-long commitment to living life in Monaco is tinted slightly by the very recent death of jazz icon and one of John's heroes, jazz pianist Bill Evans (to which he dedicates a brief rendition of an Evans tune, "Very Early"--and to which he will dedicate an entire album of solo acoustic guitar covers of Evans tunes on 1993's Time Remembered). Other than outstanding drummer Tommy Campbell and one song duet with Paco de Lucia, the cast of collaborating musicians is entirely French. One of the things that sucked me into this album from the start is John's commitment to acoustic guitar playing (I've always loved his acoustic guitar playing more than his electric). The 70s/80s jazz synthesizer keyboard support I also find tasteful and not overdone. It's an album of beautiful melodies, beautifully supportive chords and harmonics, to some very peaceful, meditative music--smooth jazz despite the virtuosity on the guitar. While all of the songs flow very pleasantly from start to finish, with a variety of rhythms and structures--like samba, waltz, and swing!, from Flamenco to sophisticated Weather Report jazz, the high point for me is the incredible SHAKTI-like "Zamfir"--which is, I'm guessing, a tribute to the great (and much maligned) Romanian pan flute player. The gorgeous textures created by Katia and François Couturier's keys along with Tommy's brilliant cymbal play and restrained drumming allow bassist Jean-Paul Celea and John's delicate guitar play to shine out front, despite their laid back volumes. "One Melody" is another high point for its constantly shifting textures and soloists--and its astounding drumming. "Stardust on Your Sleeve" also carries a very Zawinal/Weather Report feel to it: so smooth and downright "cool"! For years I though of this as a "jazz lite" album because of its sleepy pastiche, but now, years later, I see--and appreciate--the stupendous performers who were collaborating with John here--the artists who gave these soundscapes such smooth perfection. This has always been, and remains to this day, one of my favorite albums that John McLaughlin--a real guitar hero of mine--ever contributed to much less composed and led. Definitely a five star masterpiece of jazz-rock fusion.
 Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.10 | 22 ratings

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Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Though I've always thought of John as one of the supremely ego-less collaborators in the history of jazz music--and admired his seemingly effortless chameleonic shifts in styles and sounds over the course of his 60 year career--I hold this album up high as what could be, perhaps, his most distinguished publication. The reverence with which John holds for composer/pianist/theorist Bill Evans is so evident in each and every note he plays. Some may think that his choice to perform all of these eleven pieces with only himself as accompanist may think it egotistical, but I do not. I Know how much John LOVED each and every note Bill placed on paper, rendered onto tape and vinyl, so I do not for one minute reprimand him for not entrusting any of them--not even one!--to a collaborator. The heavenly, angelic reverence John is expressing with each and every note, chord, and strum is so strongly felt. Anyone who has had the privilege of seeing John perform live in concert will know how sincerely, respectfully, and selflessly he gives support to his stage mates--sitting back, providing virtuosic chord support and loving attention to each and every soloist as if that person is his own child that he want so much to succeed and shine. As evidence of this, I urge you to watch the 1985 film "Round Midnight" to watch John play in that incredibly talented all-star band that supports Dexter Gordon in order to see how willing and thoroughly invested John is in playing a supporting role--something he does with such emotion and love! Or listen to Shakti's song, "Face to Face" in which John's stunning background strumming so lovingly supports and counters Shankar's violin playing--egging the young maestro on to higher heights. It's beauty at its very highest heights.

This album is full and complete perfection--helped, of course, by Master Bill Evans' compositions and previous standards of play, but also by John's complete and utterly loving commitment to each and every note. A true masterpiece of both artistic expression and human achievement.

 Live at the Royal Festival Hall by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Live, 1990
4.43 | 21 ratings

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Live at the Royal Festival Hall
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A tour I saw but in Ann Arbor, Michigan with young Dominique Di Piazza in place of Kai Echhardt. This also my introduction to the person, style, and music of Trilock Gurtu--by whom I was simply blown away. At the same time, I was totally enamored of John's collaborative spirit--always giving his supporting musician exactly what they need for both space and support while still contributing HUGELY to the musical landscapes (and I don't just mean when he was soloing as the lead instrument). Plus, this was my introduction to the Indian Carnatic call-and-response "talk" language of musical expression--which I find thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and amazing--and which I was surprised to see and hear John's participation and even competency with! This recording is a collection of very nice songs that well capture the essence of the concert music, but the concert itself, of course, was so much more.

A great and essential time capsule of music from one of the essential and chameleonic shakers and movers of music over the past 60 years.

 Liberation Time by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.12 | 15 ratings

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Liberation Time
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

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.

 Electric Dreams by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.84 | 42 ratings

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Electric Dreams
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Heart of the Matter

5 stars There was a time when the mention of jazz-rock meant much more than another prog-related branch of the tree. These guys were fighting their own battle, taking no prisoners. Later, history disavowed them, but not before they leave a legacy behind. I think this album is a significative part of it, that doesn't race with the advantage of being akin to, let's say, King Crimson, like Mahavishnu Orchestra does, but rather being a thoroughbred fusion creature, with no parts resembling the corpses where they come from. That is so much its virtue as its sin, the question is: there are people willing to forgive and listen?

The laconic but magnificent "Guardian Angels" shows John's acoustic side in full brightness. "Miles Davis" shows The One Truth Band in great form, moving confidently in a space visited also by the likes of Jean-Luc Ponty and Al Di Meola. In "Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs" there's plenty of room for subtle soloing by electric guitar, violin and keyboards. In "Love And Understanding" we find soul-tinged vocals in the style of, let's say, Stanley Clarke with Return To Forever, but with tons of symphonic atmosphere.

What else? Oh yes, the great David Sanborn for the finale.

 Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.53 | 18 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Historically an important fusion record of superminds behind fusion. They never played together in that format. All three players are totally geared up to tear their instruments showing immense talent, dexterity and experience. Do not expect advanced compositions, this is first and foremost a jamming tour de force.

All three players show a strong character but I acquired this record mainly because of Tony Williams ferocious playing that must pull many rock drummers of their chair - the intensity and use of bass drum are astonishing as well as the prowess of the trio to craft crazy rhytming patterns.

There is a light balance by also including two mellower pieces to reflect.

 Thieves And Poets by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.22 | 27 ratings

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Thieves And Poets
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars I was expecting more of a fiery/fusion fingerprint when listening to this album for the first time. Contrary to that, McLaughlin shows another not yet much explored faced of him - classical music. Logically, classical music and frenetic speedy playing is not a frequent connection and McLaughlin respects this in attempt to play in a more solemn and stately way.

The long 26+ minute suite is more interesting with orchestra and classical guitar being in good balance. For a non-trained classical music listener, it may be a challenging listening. The following four homages are neatly played but forgettable in the long run.

Non-essential for most McLaughlin and fusion fans.

 The Heart Of Things by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.91 | 28 ratings

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The Heart Of Things
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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 and excellent drummer Dennis Chambers. Music is less straightforward and flowing than in 70's and it remains sophisticated owing to contemporary fusion that has multiple changes and forays into modern jazz. "Acid jazz" is one of the highlights with clear guitar motive, speedy guitar licks by McLaughlin and stormy drumming. Saxophone playing is very enriching and melodic. "Seven sisters" has a very irregular rhythm and all instruments very free flowing. "Mr D.C." is the showcase for Dennis Chambers with latin inspired drumming and solo. It's absolutely phenomenal what he pulls off here for complexity. Slow moods are represented by "Fallen Angels" and "When love is far away" with pleasant acoustic guitar.

Another very good McLaughlin 90's album.

 The Promise by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.92 | 42 ratings

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The Promise
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars An essential John McLaughlin album from the 90's and my favourite one due to variety of styles and great musicianship. There are more traditional ones (post-bop), more acoustic based from the 90's but this one has a solid place, especially if you want to get introduced to this eclectic guitar player.

I expected "Django" to be linked to Django Reinhardt, however it has a duel of Jeff Beck and McLaughlin inspired by light blues moves with such jaw-dropping lightness, some feelings here remind me of Gary Moore. "Thelonius melodius" is a more traditional post-bop-fusion trip with Hammond and electric guitar whipping cream. Check out "After the rain" and "Live in Tokyo" for more Joey de Francesco/Dennis Chambers performance. "Amy and Joseph" is a quiet sublime track allowing to escape 100-notes/second speed. "No return" is a curious track with touches of electronica, dominant trumpet and quite restrained guitar, it has the typical 90's contemporary jazz flair. Those that like McLaughlin at his acoustic, go to "El Ciego" for hot speedy guitar playing. One of the best tracks and closest to fusion come with "Jazz Jungle" which could be called "Jazz Jam" since every player performs a hilarious solo music. I like saxophone and drums chops by Chambers. Fans of Shakti will be content to some extent by hearing "The wish" which is however quite restrained and accessible compared to the 70's output. "English Jam" is a short attempt at Mahavishnu sounding raw sound but not too convincing. "Peacock" is a great quiet electric or acoustic guitar track.

 Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.36 | 56 ratings

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Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars John McLaughlin returned slightly to the previous sound or tendency of early 70's with Mahavishnu Orchestra. The record may have sounded dated in the end of 70's because its sound went more backwards in the timeline than forward. The line-up is star-filled; they have enough chops to make this a double album. Playing qualities certainly does not disappoint, nor does the variety of styles featured. For the first time, we even have a slightly post-bop adventure (the longest track) with hints of fusion "Do You Hear the Voices that You Left Behind" that has a lot of excellent soloing to offer. Latin jazz fans will be please with the Santana- latin number "Friendship" with the master behind. "Every Tear from Every Eye" has both relaxed Mahavishnu and Return to Forever feeling thanks electric piano. You can certainly quickly recognized the drumming torpedo behind "Phenomenon Compulsion" accompanied with distorted and edgy electric guitar, pity that this track is too short. "My foolish heart" is a relaxing solo guitar piece. A recommended album to listen to.
Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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