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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 | 71 ratings
Extrapolation
1969
3.88 | 58 ratings
Devotion
1970
3.75 | 45 ratings
My Goals Beyond
1971
3.13 | 31 ratings
Where Fortune Smiles
1971
3.35 | 49 ratings
Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist
1978
3.72 | 34 ratings
Electric Dreams
1979
3.35 | 27 ratings
Belo Horizonte
1981
3.24 | 22 ratings
Music Spoken Here
1982
3.88 | 26 ratings
Qué alegria
1992
3.72 | 19 ratings
Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans
1993
4.63 | 13 ratings
Molom - A Legend Of Mongolia (OST)
1995
3.60 | 21 ratings
After The Rain
1995
3.90 | 36 ratings
The Promise
1996
3.94 | 22 ratings
The Heart Of Things
1997
3.22 | 25 ratings
Thieves And Poets
2003
3.57 | 34 ratings
Industrial Zen
2006
3.76 | 23 ratings
Floating Point
2008
3.68 | 24 ratings
To The One (with the 4-th Dimension)
2010
3.50 | 13 ratings
Now Here This (with The 4th Dimension)
2012
3.82 | 11 ratings
Black Light
2015

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

4.32 | 17 ratings
Live at the Royal Festival Hall
1990
3.67 | 13 ratings
Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra "The Mediterranean"
1990
3.77 | 15 ratings
Tokyo Live
1994
4.43 | 15 ratings
The Heart of Things: Live In Paris
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Official Pirate: The Best Of The American Tour
2007
3.95 | 18 ratings
Five Peace Band (with Chick Corea)
2009
4.33 | 9 ratings
The Boston Record (with The 4th Dimension)
2014

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

3.70 | 7 ratings
McLaughlin / DeLucia / Coryell - Meeting of the Spirits
1980
4.09 | 2 ratings
Live @ Belgrade (with 4-th Dimension)
2009

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

3.10 | 2 ratings
The Best of John McLaughlin
1980
4.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits
1990
5.00 | 1 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 | 16 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
 Trio of Doom (with Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.53 | 16 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 | 25 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
3.94 | 22 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
3.90 | 36 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
3.35 | 49 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.
 Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.35 | 49 ratings

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Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This album doesn't get a lot of love here, perhaps because it's just collection of instrumental jazz-rock pieces with no central Mahavishnu-esque theme, perhaps too many guests on board but for a bass fiend like myself, getting to admire talents like Fermando Saunders, Alphonso Johnson, the great Jack Bruce, super show-off Stanley Clarke and the magical Neil Jason (who has played with EVERYONE) is quite the thrill. Now the drummers aren't too shabby either what with Tony Williams, Michael Walden, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette and Tony Smith bashing away merrily on the drum kit. The keyboardists are quite ordinary (LOL): Chick Corea, Tom Coster, Patrice Rushen and the highly underrated Stu Goldberg. Yes, laughter is permitted, just throw in Carlos Santana, David Sanborn and jerry Goodman. Are these all uninspired session men earning their keep and playing along at minimum speed? No. A big resounding NO! Many have criticized this release as having no direction and no soul, which already is odd for the jazz-rock scene that thrives on jamming and technical prowess. The main clue to better understand what is going on here should be immediate: this is not a Mahavishnu Orchestra or a John McLaughlin album but a 'JOHNNY McLaughlin" release! It seems to be a rather important inkling into what was intended, since he had never called himself Johnny before or after! Let us try to analyze this effort on its own merits and not according to past or future positions.

The sheer quality of the cast is enough to make one want to let go of any and all apprehensions and enjoy the ride. Boost the speakers to LOUD, I say. " New York on my Mind" is a deliberately restrained and suave piece that glides smoothly along , perhaps close to MO in many ways due to the presence of Goodman and Cobham no doubt (who both shine here BTW), suitably 'Hammer'-ed by Stu Goldberg's stupendously liquid Moog synth solo and driven along by Fernando's sexy bass asylum. 'Johnny' screeches swiftly, showing his legendary dexterity in the finest light. Really great track.

That Devadip Carlos Santana and Mahavishnu Johnny Mclaughlin had a long and distinguished "Friendship " that went beyond being pals and musicians and that would include devout spirituality, is well documented in the annals of rock history, so this piece should come as no surprise or disappointment. It's a typical Santana exhibition, soaring, screaming and diving like only he can, ably assisted by Johnny on rhythm guitar as well as a large contingent of the Santana band, 1979 vintage in Tom Coster and Armando Peraza. Throw in the stunning Narada Michael Walden on the boom-boom kit with Neil Jason carving on bass, and you get the idea. I also hear a tinge of Jan Akkerman in the guitar motifs, a common attribute back in those days.

The "Every Tear from Every Eye" has some identifiable riffs that are by now iconic, stuttering wildly like only 'Johnny' can, Sanborn's sax supplying the opaque serenity and some deadly Taurus pedal work from Alphonso, who will present a lovely bass solo later as well. Slow-burning jazz improv as Rushen's seductively feminine piano shuffle along. Poignant, heartfelt, there is no dry eye in the house, listening to this smoker.

Keyboardist Chick Corea takes over on the bright and adventurous "Do You Hear the Voices that You Left Behind?", ably assisted by busy boys , Clarke and deJohnette, thus giving 'Johnny' ample room to flick his blisteringly fast pick over the strings and get the blood boiling, which he does liberally throughout the piece. The rhythm section really cooks diligently, a phenomenal display that may appear to some as classic jazz. Clarke takes out his acoustic bass to great effect and puts down a mean run. Corea adds a rapid Mini-Moog solo that sizzles.

Stealing the show however is another question-marked title, the Jack Bruce-dominated "Are You the One? Are You the One?", a colossal romp of the finest vintage, expertly fueled by the ever-propulsive Tony Williams and finished off by the omnipresence of 'Johnny''s imperial wah-wah guitar display. The trio is just plain nasty, all three musical giants pushing the boundaries of their immense talent. Bruce takes the long road, showing off some incredible moves, driving his bass manically, barely unhinged and devout to the cause. Nearly 5 minutes of genius. From trio we go to duo, as 'Johnny' and Billy combine for some devilish sonic theatrics, eschewing any need for added support, the two being noisy enough, thank you! What 'Johnny' does to his electric guitar is clearly inhuman, verging on outright sadism. Smear on some sheer and unchallengeable insanity. No wonder Johnny was often compared to Jimi! And from duo to solo, a tender "My Foolish Heart" lullaby, featuring sweet sounds from 'Johnny' and qualifying as an ethereal wave goodbye.

I don't know but I really liked it, a totally unpretentious menu that sparkles, shimmers and glitters nicely as 'Johnny' comes marching home to becoming John again.

4 Power-driven minstrels

 Devotion by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.88 | 58 ratings

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Devotion
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

4 stars A controversial early work released on Douglas Records that left McLaughlin bitterly disappointed, due to the poorly done mixing and finish. Contrary to his repeated requests and pleas, the producer, Alan Douglas (Rubinstein), has flatly refused any chance for a re-mix, so we ended up with some great plating that didn't quite come off as good as it may have with more attention from the producer. A real shame!

This is the same Douglas who wiggled his way to become "custodian" of the entire Hendrix library, releasing some brutally modified works while leaving enormous material gathering dust in the vaults. In recent years Hendrix's father, Al Hendrix, has finally won a protracted legal battle against Douglas ans successfully reclaimed Jimi's legacy.

With a proper mix and without the odd abrupt termination of a track, "Devotion" would be a fine album. Young McLaughlin plays jammy, sometimes furious notes balanced out by Larry Young's etheric organs. A careful observer will also detect elements that emerged barely a year later on the first album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But that was done by CBS and was done with due attention to the end product.

Douglas is dead now and it makes me wonder if one day we may hear this work in a form the artist intended to share with us? Still pretty good as it is, but I can't help but to focus on kinda re- mixing it in my head at every spin. A somewhat entertaining, amusing challenge, but it can be very annoying for having to do that, too.

 Where Fortune Smiles by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.13 | 31 ratings

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Where Fortune Smiles
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The truth about this rare album is that it was released originally as John Surman's work, but the later reissue was credited to John McLaughlin for pure marketing purposes.

Anyway, this music is quite different from anything released by McLaughlin before or after. This album features an excellent team of jazz musicians, (rhythm section of Dave Holland and Stu Martin) and they sound great. Surman's reeds lead the band, but they are sometimes pulled down by Karl Berger's busy vibraphone work. McLaughlin is the composer of most of the album's songs and the only other composer is Surman.

The music itself is free-form knotty complex free jazz with only a few fusion licks. This isn't an excellent record, but it makes for an interesting example of an almost unknown side to McLaughlin's music.

originally written for www.jazzmusicarchives.com

 Now Here This (with The 4th Dimension) by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.50 | 13 ratings

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Now Here This (with The 4th Dimension)
John McLaughlin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars Undoubtedly, John McLaughlin has been one of the finest guitar players, composers for nearly half a century. When he gets things right as with the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, with Shakti or some solo projects, not mentioning his works with Miles Davis and many others, or the acoustic trio works, he is just sensational.

Unfortunately, he is also prone to releasing some absolute duds here and there, but more about those perhaps some other time. Suffice to say "Now Here This" falls somewhere in the middle. The rating between 1-5 stars would leave this barely above 2.5 by Prog definitions.

This is not a "bad" album, but I couldn't call it good, either. Ordinary Fusion devoid of any excitements, or definite highlights.

I have "endured" this piece over three repeated runs and found it rather uninspiring and mediocre. Quirky and swift runs on the guitar are impressive alas, there is nothing much new there, more of a repetition of what's been recorded before. The rhythm section - consisting of talented musicians - are pretty much wasted here as they are only engaged to provide a backdrop to those familiar guitar notes. And the overuse of slap-bass by 2012 could be regarded as somewhat "passe".

With due regret, I could not recommend this work as a "must have".

 After The Rain by MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.60 | 21 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.

Thanks to Dick Heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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