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John McLaughlin - Qué alegria CD (album) cover


John McLaughlin


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.90 | 31 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars John McLaughlin Trio continues their well know rock-jazz all along the way, and this album makes no exception. The trio of 4 men presents a fully working album, which is a great addition to everyone's collection, at least if you are into experimental jazz. I might even say this is a must. This was actually the first John McLaughlin cd I ever owned or heard, so I can even suggest this as the first album for you too. It's not a soft start for a common listener because of it's very peculiar time signatures and the progressive touch pulled to the max.

The album begins with Belo Horizonte, which is a great song to give an impression of Mr. McLaughlin's style of playing. The song begins softly and within the 6 and a half minutes it developes into awesome soloplaying by John himself. The theme of the song plays in the background throughout the song with little variation and makes it a solid piece to begin with and still fairly easy to listen to. An excellent song, one of the best on the album.

The second track is a melodic piece, at times even psychedelic with less fast improvisation. One can easily spot a story behind this song. The tune and the theme is very catchy. This is not an original jazz song, in fact it goes more to the psychedelic sde of this genre. But that does not mean it is any worse, on the contrary, I love this song along with the others, though should you prefer the shredding and the fast tempo JMTrio stuff, this might get boring after a while.

The third is a somewhat of an empty song, Reincarnation, with long gentle and peaceful melodies filled with soft guitar every now and then. Not my personal favourite, pretty much like a poor mans version of the second track. Yet the song does have its moments.

Night Stand on the other hand is a very groovy song that doesn't leave anyone cold. It starts quick with a swingy bassline along with the theme played with McLaughlins guitar. In this song the trio leaves room for a great bass solo, which is somewhere in the end of the song. I especially like the Kai Eckhardt-Karpeh's touch on the bass in this one. The shortest song thus far keeps it's grooviness to the end and is absolutely recommended to those who are not so much into jazz either.

Marie, as the tracklisting says, is a bass solo and therefore some might say, thankfully pretty short. Yet this song is of great technical playing and beautiful combinations. And at times the bass shreds as fast as John McLaughlin himself. Dominique Di Piazza is back on this track.

Hijacked is a very fast and very tough one to listen personally I do not find the beginning of this song good at all: it's hard to make any sense of what's happening. Then to the end the song it gets an awesome swing which drops the confusion of the beginning down to half. The end part of this song is John McLaughlin at his best, not to mention the band.

Mila Repa is an odd song. I can't think of any place this would be played in. Only thing you can actually do is to close your eyes for 7 and a half minutes and listen to guitartones played once in two seconds. That is a really slow tempo.

The title song is very beautiful, and again, a powerful jazz song with a great theme. I love this song everytime the theme is played. The song actually has approximately 2 parts, as it changes in the middle to something like a mix of bossa nova and samba. After this the song proceeds with a scat part undescribable with words. Everyone has to hear this. It begins with a count from 1 to 4 and two men beging scatting as a duo while Trilok Gurtu keeps the rythm up with the drums. It's amazing how these guys can scat together without practise. Just shows that they're not only good players with their instrument, they're great musicians altogether.

3 Willows is a soft ending that makes you gently fall asleep after an hour of listening. Hearing this song after some intense listening gives a somewhat euphoric feeling, and one can only love it.

As a whole I'll give this album 4 stars. It's an excellent addition, and should one listen to at least a bit of jazz and progressive rock, this would be something they should hear. But for people who often start comparing themselves to the players and how good they are, I advice to stay far away from this album. It is obvious why these guys are so appreciated. John MacLaughlin knows not only how to play, but also how to compile an album, or a live performance. And the track order here is well thought off and brilliant. 4 stars well deserved.

Passionist | 4/5 |


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