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John McLaughlin - The Montreux Concerts - 17CD-BOX 2003

John McLaughlin (born 4 January 1942, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England), also known as
Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English guitarist, bandleader and composer. His music includes jazz,
Indian classical music, fusion, and Western classical music and amenco.
In 2010 guitarist Jeff Beck called him the best guitarist alive. The Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussain has
called him one of the greatest and one of the important musicians of our times. In 2003 McLaughlin was
ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
After contributing to several key British groups of the early sixties and making his rst solo record
Extrapolation (with Tony Oxley and John Surman) he moved to the USA where he played with Tony
Williams's group Lifetime and then with Miles Davis on his landmark electric jazz-fusion albums In A Silent
Way, Bitches Brew, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and On The Corner. His 1970s electric band, the
Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused eclectic
jazz and rock with eastern and Indian inuences.
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From a family of musicians (his mother being a concert violinist), McLaughlin studied violin and piano as a
child and took up the guitar at the age of 11, exploring styles from amenco to the jazz of Django
Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. He moved to London from Yorkshire in the early 1960s, playing with
Alexis Korner and the Marzipan Twisters before moving on to Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, the
Graham Bond Organisation (in 1963) and Brian Auger. During the 1960s he often had to support himself
with session work which he often found unsatisfying but which enhanced his playing and sight-reading.
McLaughlin moved to the U.S. in 1969 to join Tony Williams's group Lifetime. A recording from the Record
Plant, NYC, dated 25 March 1969, exists of McLaughlin jamming with Jimi Hendrix. McLaughlin recollects
we played one night, just a jam session. And we played from 2 until 8, in the morning. I thought it was a
wonderful experience! I was playing an acoustic guitar with a pick-up. Um, at-top guitar, and Jimi was
playing an electric. Yeah, what a lovely time! Had he lived today, you'd nd that he would be employing
everything he could get his hands on, and I mean acoustic guitar, synthesizers, orchestras, voices,
anything he could get his hands on he'd use!
He played on Miles Davis' albums In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew (which has a track named after him), On
The Corner, Big Fun (where he is featured soloist on Go Ahead John) and A Tribute to Jack Johnson. In
the liner notes to Jack Johnson, Davis called McLaughlin's playing far in. McLaughlin returned to the
Davis band for one night of a week-long club date, recorded and released as part of the album Live-Evil
and of the Cellar Door boxed set. His reputation as a rst-call session player grew, resulting in recordings
as a sideman with Miroslav Vitous, Larry Coryell, Joe Farrell, Wayne Shorter, Carla Bley, the Rolling
Stones, and others.
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He recorded Devotion in early 1970 on Douglas Records (run by Alan Douglas), a high-energy,
psychedelic fusion album that featured Larry Young on organ (who had been part of Lifetime), Billy Rich
on bass and the R&B drummer Buddy Miles. Devotion was the rst of two albums he released on
Douglas. In 1971 he released My Goal's Beyond in the U.S., a collection of unamplied acoustic works.
Side A (Peace One and Peace Two) offers a fusion blend of jazz and Indian classical forms while side B
features melodic acoustic playing McLaughlin on such standards as Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, by Charles
Mingus whom McLaughlin considered an important inuence. My Goal's Beyond was inspired by
McLaughlin's decision to follow the Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, to whom he had been introduced
in 1970 by Larry Coryell's manager. The album was dedicated to Chinmoy, with one of the guru's poems
printed on the liner notes. It was on this album that McLaughlin took the name Mahavishnu.
In 1973 McLaughlin collaborated with Carlos Santana, also a disciple of Sri Chinmoy, on an album of
devotional songs, Love Devotion Surrender, which included recordings of Coltrane compositions including
a movement of A Love Supreme. He has also worked with the jazz composers Carla Bley and Gil Evans.
In 1979 he formed a short-lived funk fusion power trio named the Trio of Doom with Tony Williams on
drums and Jaco Pastorius on bass. Their only live performance was on 3 March 1979 at the Havana Jam
Festival (2-4 March 1979) in Cuba, part of a US State Department sponsored visit to Cuba. Later on 8
March 1979 the group recorded the songs they had written for the festival at Columbia Studios, New York,
on 52nd St. Recollections from this performance are captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's
documentary Havana Jam '79.
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McLaughlin's 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, included violinist Jerry Goodman,
keyboardist Jan Hammer, bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Cobham and performed a technically
difcult and complex style of music that fused eclectic jazz and rock with Eastern and Indian inuences.
This band helped establish fusion as a new and growing style. McLaughlin's playing at this time was
distinguished by fast solos and exotic musical scales.
The Mahavishnu Orchestra's personality clashes were as explosive as their performances and
consequently the rst incarnation of the group split in late 1973 after two years and three albums, one a
live recording entitled Between Nothingness and Eternity. In 2001 the Lost Trident Sessions album was
released, having been recorded in 1973 but shelved when the group disbanded. McLaughlin then
reformed the group with Narada Michael Walden (drums), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin), Ralphe Armstrong
(bass), and Gayle Moran (keyboards and vocals), and a string and horn section (McLaughlin referred to
this as the real Mahavishnu Orchestra). This incarnation of the group recorded two more albums,
Apocalypse with the London Symphony Orchestra and Visions of the Emerald Beyond. A scaled-down
quartet was formed with McLaughlin, Walden on drums, Armstrong on bass and Stu Goldberg on
keyboards and synthesizer, which generated a third Mahavishnu 2 recording in 1976 largely due to
contractual obligations, Inner Worlds.
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McLaughlin then became absorbed in his acoustic playing with his Indian classical music based group
Shakti (energy). McLaughlin had already been studying Indian classical music and playing the veena for
several years. The group featured Lakshminarayanan L. Shankar (violin), Zakir Hussain (tabla),
Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram (ghatam) and earlier Ramnad Raghavan (mridangam). The group
recorded three albums; 'A Handful of Beauty' (1975), 'Shakti' (1976), and 'Natural Elements' (1977).
Based on both Carnatic and Hindustani styles, along with extended use of konnakol, the band introduced
ragas and Indian percussion to many jazz acionados.
In this group McLaughlin played a custom-made steel-string acoustic guitar made by Abe Wechter and
the Gibson guitar company that featured two tiers of strings over the soundhole: a conventional six-string
conguration and seven strings strung underneath at a forty-ve degree angle - these were independently
tuneable sympathetic strings much like those on a sitar or veena. The instrument's vina-like scalloped
fretboard enabled McLaughlin to bend strings far beyond the reach of a conventional fretboard.
McLaughlin grew so accustomed to the freedom it provided him that he had the fretboard scalloped on his
Gibson Byrdland electric guitar.
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McLaughlin also appeared on Stanley Clarke's School Days and numerous other fusion albums. 1979
also saw the formation of the very short-lived Trio of Doom, consisting of McLaughlin with Jaco Pastorius
(bass) and Tony Williams (drums). They only played one concert, at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana,
Cuba on 3 March 1979, as part of the Havana Jam festival. Their performance is captured on Ernesto
Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79. They later recorded three tracks at CBS Studios in
New York, 8 March 1979. The same year he teamed up with amenco guitarist Paco de Luca and jazz
guitarist Larry Coryell (replaced by Al Di Meola in the early 1980s) as the Guitar Trio. For the tour of fall
1983 they were joined by Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse who opened the show as a soloist and
participated with The Trio in the closing numbers. The Trio reunited in 1996 for a second recording
session and a world tour. Also in 1979 McLaughlin recorded the album Johnny McLaughlin, Electric
Guitarist, the title on McLaughlin's rst business cards as a teenager in Yorkshire. This was a return to
more mainstream jazz/rock fusion and to the electric instrument after three years of playing acoustic
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The short-lived One Truth Band recorded one studio album, Electric Dreams with L. Shankar on violins,
Stu Goldberg on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on electric bass and Tony Smith on drums. After the
dissolution of the One Truth Band, McLaughlin toured in a guitar duo with Christian Escoude.
With the group Fuse One, he released two albums in 1980 and 1982.
In 1986 he appeared with Dexter Gordon in Bertrand Tavernier's lm Round Midnight. He also composed
The Mediterranean Concerto, orchestrated by Michael Gibbs. The world premier featured McLaughlin and
the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was recorded in 1988 with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the
London Symphony Orchestra. Unlike what is typical practice in classical music, the concerto includes
sections where McLaughlin improvises. Also included on the recording were ve duets between
McLaughlin and his then-girlfriend Katia Labeque.
In the late '80s and early '90s McLaughlin recorded and performed live with a trio including bassist Kai
Eckhardt and percussionist Trilok Gurtu. The group recorded two albums: Live at The Royal Festival Hall
and Que Alegria, with latter featuring Dominique DiPiazza on bass for all but two tracks, parts of the
subsequent tour also included Jeff Berlin on bass. These recordings saw a return to acoustic instruments
for McLaughlin, performing on nylon-string guitar. On Live at the Royal Festival Hall McLaughlin utilised a
unique guitar synth which enabled him to effectively loop guitar parts and play over them live. The synth
also featured a pedal which provided sustain when pressed. McLaughlin played parts which sound
overdubbed and creating lush soundscapes, aided by Gurtu's unique percussive sounds. This approach
is used to great effect in the track Florianapolis, amongst others.
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In the early 1990s he toured with his trio on the Que Alegria album. The trio comprised John McLaughlin,
percussionist Trilok Gurtu and bass player Kai Eckhardt (later replaced by Dominique DiPiazza).
Following this period he recorded and toured with The Heart of Things featuring Gary Thomas, Dennis
Chambers, Matthew Garrison, Jim Beard and Otmaro Ruz. In 1993 he released a Bill Evans tribute
album entitled Time Remembered, John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans with his acoustic guitar backed by
the acoustic guitars of the Aighetta Quartet and the acoustic bass of Yan Maresz. In recent times he has
toured with Remember Shakti.
In addition to original Shakti member Zakir Hussain, this group has also featured eminent Indian
musicians U. Srinivas, V. Selvaganesh, Shankar Mahadevan, Shivkumar Sharma, and Hariprasad
Chaurasia. In 1996, John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia and Al Di Meola (known collectively as The Guitar
Trio) reunited for a world tour and recorded an album by the same name. In that same year he recorded
The Promise. Also notable during the period were his performances with Elvin Jones and Joey
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In 2003 he recorded a ballet score, Thieves and Poets, along with arrangements for classical guitar
ensemble of favorite jazz standards and a three-DVD instructional video on improvisation entitled This is
the Way I Do It (which contributed to the development of video lessons) In June 2006 he released a post-
bop/jazz fusion album entitled Industrial Zen, on which he experimented with the Godin Glissentar as well
as continuing to expand his guitar-synth repertoire.
In 2007 he left Universal Records and joined Abstract Logix. Recording sessions for his rst album on
that label took place in April. That summer, he began touring with a new jazz fusion quartet, the 4th
Dimension, consisting of keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband, bassist Hadrian Feraud, and drummer
Mark Mondesir. During the 4th Dimension's tour, an instant CD entitled Live USA 2007, Ofcial Bootleg
was made available comprising soundboard recordings of six pieces from the group's rst performance.
Following completion of the tour, McLaughlin sorted through recordings from each night to release a
second MP3 download-only collection entitled, Ofcial Pirate, Best of the American Tour 2007. During this
time, McLaughlin also released another instructional DVD, The Gateway to Rhythm, featuring Indian
percussionist and Remember Shakti bandmate Selva Ganesh Vinayakram (or V. Selvaganesh), focusing
on the Indian rhythmic system of konnakol. McLaughlin also remastered and released a shelved 1980
project called The Trio of Doom, featuring jazz/fusion luminaries Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams. The
project had been aborted due to conicts between Williams and Pastorius as well as what was at the time
a mutual dissatisfaction with the results of their performance.
On 28 April 2008 the recording sessions from the previous year surfaced on the album Floating Point,
featuring the rhythm section of keyboardist Louis Banks, bassist Hadrien Feraud, percussionist Sivamani
and drummer Ranjit Barot bolstered on each track by a different Indian musician. Coinciding with the
release of the album was another DVD, Meeting of the Minds, which offered behind the scenes studio
footage of the Floating Point sessions as well as interviews with all of the musicians. He engaged in a late
summer/fall 2008 tour with Chick Corea, Vinnie Colaiuta, Kenny Garrett and Christian McBride under the
name Five Peace Band, from which came an eponymous double-CD live album in early 2009.
McLaughlin performed with Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham at the 44th Montreux Jazz
Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, on 2 July 2010, for the rst time since the band split up. In November
2010, a new book was released by Abstract Logix Books entitled Follow Your Heart- John McLaughlin
Song by Song by Walter Kolosky, who also wrote the book Power, Passion and Beauty - The Story of the
Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra. The book discussed each song McLaughlin wrote and contained
photographs never seen before.
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McLaughlin has been cited as a major inuence on many 1970s and 1980s fusion guitarists. Examples
are prominent players such as Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Pebber Brown,
Shawn Lane, and Scott Henderson. His inuence did not stop in the 80's, though; hardcore punk guitarist
Greg Ginn of Black Flag cited Birds of Fire by The Mahavishnu Orchestra which inspired him to record
more progressive guitar work and even record instrumental songs. Current players still hold him as highly
inuential, including Omar Rodriguez of The Mars Volta. According to Pat Metheny, McLaughlin has
changed the evolution of the guitar during several of his periods of playing. McLaughlin is also considered
a major inuence on composers in the fusion genre. In an interview with Downbeat, Chick Corea
remarked that what John McLaughlin did with the electric guitar set the world on its ear. No one ever
heard an electric guitar played like that before, and it certainly inspired me. John's band, more than my
experience with Miles, led me to want to turn the volume up and write music that was more dramatic and
made your hair stand on end.
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This monumental compilation features all the artist's concerts at the Montreaux Jazz Festival spanning
the years 1974 through 1999. Featuring Shakti in July 1976 & 1977 (three discs), John McLaughlin & The
One Truth Band in July 1978, John McLaughlin & Chick Corea in July 1981, Mahavishnu Orchestra in
July 1984 (two discs), John McLaughlin & Paco DeLucia in July 1987 (two discs), John McLaughlin & The
Free Spirits in July 1993 & 1995 (three discs), John McLaughlin & The Heart Of Things in July 1998, &
John McLaughlin & Remember Shakti in July 1999. The last disc is a bonus CD containing two tracks one
featuring McLaughlin performing with Santana in July 1993 'Canto de Xango' & another with McLaughlin
& Paco DeLucia in July 1996 'Frevo'.
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John McLaughlin - The Montreux Concerts 1974-1999
(Bonn Warner Music Switzerland 2003)
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA-July 7, 1974 Convention Center Montreux
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Bob Knapp (ute, percussions), Steve Frankovitch (horns), Gayle Moran
(organ, voc), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin), Steve Kindler (violin), Carol Shive (violin), Marsha Westbrook (alto),
Phillip Hirschi (cello), Ralphe Armstrong (bass), Michael Walden (drums)
CD 1
1 Power Of Love (5:54)
2 Wings Of Karma (21:43)
3 Smile Of The Beyond (23:25)
CD 2
1 Vision Is A Naked Sword (26:04)
2 Hymn To Him (28:29)
3 Sanctuary (17:27)
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SHAKTI-July 6, 1976 Montreux Casino
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), L. Shankar (violin), T.H. Vinayakram (ghatam, mridangam), Zakir Hussain
CD 3
1 Joy (13:29)
2 India (22:47)
CD 4
2 Kriti (4:10)
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SHAKTI-July 8, 1977 Montreux Casino
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), L. Shankar (violin), T.H. Vinayakram (ghatam, mridangam), Zakir Hussain
CD 5
1 La Danse Du Bonheur (11:29)
2 India (23:46)
3 Get Down And Sruti (28:38)
4 Joy (8:52)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE ONE TRUTH BAND -July 19, 1978 Montreux Casino
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Stu Goldberg (keyboards), L. Shankar (violin), Tom Stevens (bass), W.
Sonship Theus (drums)
CD 6
1 Meeting Of The Spirits (16:57)
2 Friendship (11:48)
3 Two Sisters (5:38)
4 Mind Ecology & Do You Hear The Voices We Left Behind (27:51)
5 Phenomenon Compulsion & Hope (8:16)
CHICK COREA & JOHN MCLAUGHLIN -July 15, 1981 Montreux Casino
With: Chick Corea (piano), John McLaughlin (guitar)
CD 7
1 La Baleine (9:21)
2 Waltze (8:42)
3 Romance (10:24)
4 Sketches (9:33)
5 Turn Around (10:43)
6 Thelonius Melodius (8:43)
7 Beautiful Love (dedicated to Bill Evans) (6:31)
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA -July 18, 1984 Montreux Casino
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Bill Evans (saxophone), Mitchell Forman (keyboards), Jonas Hellborg
(bass), Danny Gottlieb (drums)
CD 8
1 Radio Activity (9:43)
2 Nostalgia (11:13)
3 East Side West Side (14:19)
4 Clarendon Hills (9:53)
5 Blues For L.W., It's The Pits & Living On The Crest Of A Wave (13:42)
CD 9
1 Jozy (13:28)
2 Pacic Express (21:06)
3 Mitch Match (7:47)
4 Mitch Match (reprise) (6:09)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & PACO DE LUCIA -July 15, 1987 Montreux Casino
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Paco de Lucia (guitar)
CD 10
1 One Melody & My Foolish Heart (9:09)
2 El Panuelo (6:12)
3 Spain (10:11)
4 Chiquito (8:45)
5 Florianapolis (11:37)
CD 11
1 Frevo (7:55)
2 David (10:58)
3 Sichia (7:04)
4 Guardian Angels (6:31)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE FREE SPIRITS -July 4, 1993 Stravinski Auditorium
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Joey DeFrancesco (organ, trumpet on When Love Is Far Away), Dennis
Chambers (drums)
CD 12
1 Thelonius Melodius (7:04)
2 Matinale (16:18)
3 When Love Is Far Away (5:52)
4 Nostalgia (7:16)
5 Mother Tongues (13:50)
6 1 Nite Stand (4:35)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE FREE SPIRITS -July 18, 1995 Stravinski Auditorium
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Joey DeFrancesco (organ, trumpet), Dennis Chambers (drums)
CD 13
1 Tones For Elvin Jones (9:21)
2 Matinale (20:18)
3 Sing Me Softly Of The Blues (7:55)
4 The Wall Will Fall (14:28)
CD 14
1 After The Rain (5:58)
By John Coltrane (Jowcol Music, BMI)
2 Mother Tongues (20:50)
3 Old Folks (6:33)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE HEART OF THINGS -July 11, 1998 Stravinski Auditorium
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Gary Thomas (saxophone, ute), Jim Beard (keyboards), Matthew
Garrison (bass), Dennis Chambers (drums)
CD 15
1 Seven Sisters (14:05)
2 Social Climate (9:47)
3 Mr. D.C. (12:53)
4 Tony (7:21)
5 Acid Jazz (12:53)
6 Jazz Jungle (9:40)
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN - REMEMBER SHAKTI -July 8, 1999 Miles Davis Hall
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Uppalapu Shrinivas (mandolin), V. Selvaganesh
(Indian percussions)
CD 16
1 5 In The Morning, 6 In The Afternoon (16:51)
2 Ma No Pa (11:16)
3 Anna (14:30)
4 Finding The Way (20:15)
5 La Danse Du Bonheur (4:50)
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July 4, 1993 Stravinski Auditorium
With: Carlos Santana (guitar), Alex Ligertwood (vocals), Chester Thompson (keyboards), Myron Dove
(bass), Walfredo Reyes (drums), Armando Peraza (percussions), Raul Rekow (congas), Karl Perrazzo
(timbales). Guest artist: John McLaughlin (guitar)
1 Canto de Xango (6:12)
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & PACO DE LUCIA -July 8, 1996 Stravinski Auditorium
With: John McLaughlin (guitar), Paco de Lucia (guitar)
2 Frevo (9:00)