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John McLaughlin - The Best of John McLaughlin CD (album) cover


John McLaughlin


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.10 | 2 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is a compilation, consisting of mostly 70s John McLaughlin jams, that is surprisingly good especially when you consider the fact that this album doesn't include any cuts from his incendiary Mahavishnu Orchestra. What we have here is one song from his duet album with Carlos Santana, three songs from his work with Shakti and four cuts from his inconsistent solo albums that were put out after the demise of Mahavishnu.

The three Shakti songs are all outstanding. McLaughlin is a total natural when it comes to this kind of raga influenced jazz. You can really hear a sense of joy in his playing when he is working in this style. Elsewhere on this compilation, the song A Love Supreme from his album with Santana is OK. This song has an amazing sound texture that features Larry Young's rich psychedelic phase shifted organ playing and a host of great percussionists, but I have never cared for the way Carlos and John 'battle' each other by exchanging musical phrases. Somehow this kind of one-upsmanship never leads to great music.

Of the four songs taken from his late 70s solo albums, at least two aren't too bad. The song Friendship opens with a dramatic guitar melody similar to early Focus or Santana and then goes into a nice Latin groove. Although there are no credits given on this album, it sure sounds like Carlos is playing on this song along with John. The Dark Prince is one of those fast paced free/bop/fusion type jams that is similar to McLaughlin's work with Tony Williams in Lifetime.

This is a pretty good overview of McLaughlin in the late 70s. It's not as exciting and aggressive as his work with Mahavishnu, but Mahavishnu had peaked and burned out like a falling star, it was time for John to move on to other things.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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