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John McLaughlin - Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra


John McLaughlin


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 13 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
4 stars Mahavishnu, an orchestra and a classical pianist

Sub-genre: Jazz/Rock Fusion (Artist category only, the album is primarily orchestral)
For Fans of: Grandiose symphonies and guitar piano duets
Vocal Style: None, Instrumental
Guitar Style: Classical
Keyboard Style: 5 songs with piano and electric piano
Percussion Style: Orchestral
Bass Style: None
Other Instruments: Everything the London Symphony Orchestra plays

Summary: We are typically treated to outrageous Jazz/Rock riffs and runs from John McLaughlin with his solo work and Mahavisnu Orchestra days. This is a very different direction in which he plays as soloist on classical guitar backed by the London Symphony Orchestra on his composition, The Mediterranean. JM effectively captures the moods of the Western world's most famous body of water with a trio of orchestral pieces. One can well imagine sailing up and down the Spanish, French, Italian and Greek coastlines while listening to the variations of the composition. The orchestra at times makes JM's guitar fairly inaudible, but the mix is for the most part very friendly to the subdued tones of the classical guitar. Most of the areas where the classical guitar is drowned out are areas that would not fit the classical guitar's softness. The Mediterranean is presented in 3 movements and spans 36 minutes of the disc. The last 5 tracks are classical guitar and piano duets with pianist Katia Labeque. These songs are not completely without the occasional Jazz feel to them, but are for the most part classical duets. All five are in contrast to the rambunctious nature of The Mediterranean, very soft with slight variations into frantic runs. This part of the album is great music for having the in-laws over for dinner and fine wine to prove that their daughter did not marry into un-refinement. The only questionable part of these songs is Montana, which is steeped in 80's style Midi piano rather than the natural grand piano of the other 4 pieces. It is otherwise a very soft, relaxed set of songs.

Final Score: This is a beautiful set from John McLaughlin, particularly the duets. While not a progressive or Jazz/Rock album, it is none the less a quality work from a musician that we are once again reminded is not just a monster player, but a genius composer. 4 stars.

Tapfret | 4/5 |


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