Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
401

John McLaughlin w/ The One Truth Band: Electric Dreams

Walter Kolosky By

Sign in to view read count Views
John McLaughlin w/ The One Truth Band: Electric Dreams The last three minutes of "Desire and the Comforter" from Electric Dreams say it all about John McLaughlin. He just tears apart his electric guitar with cascades of funk, blues, rock, jazz, and Far-Eastern scales. Every strike of a string has individual meaning. His guitar soars above the chord changes and captures the spirit of the music. He leaves space (or texture) where it should be left. Like no other guitarist on earth, John McLaughlin knows when not to play, despite claims from those who say he plays too many notes. And even though there are a million notes a minute on this tune, the spaces in between the notes create the epiphany.

McLaughlin recorded Electric Dreams with the One Truth Band, which also included L. Shankar on violin, Tony Smith on drums, Stu Goldberg on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on bass, and Alyrio Lima handling various percussion duties. The OTB was a much more rhythmic unit than JM's previous bands, and although its members may not have been the "master" musicians like those who comprised The Mahavishnu Orchestra, they certainly knew how to "funk a groove". Electric Dreams is full of such grooves and infectious tunes. Sure, we could have lived without the God-awful "Love and Understanding". But Electric Dreams offers the beautiful "Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs", featuring JM on banjo! The classic “Dark Prince” is a brooding, straight-ahead jazz-fusion homage to Miles that overshadows the album’s other Miles tribute piece, “Miles Davis."

On this recording, McLaughlin used a guitar that had a scalloped fret board. The concave spaces allowed McLaughlin to stretch notes beyond believability. A main component of the band's sound, Shankar's far-eastern violin, does seem ill placed at times, and Goldberg's synth patches are outdated in some areas as well. But, these issues actually endow the album with a bit of charm. The veterans Smith and Saunders make for a very steady rhythm section. Lima is more effective in concert than on this recording. Saxophonist David Sanborn, a guest star on several McLaughlin albums, makes a more than welcome guest appearance on the haunting “Unknown Dissident”.

The mix wasn't always successful. But on the whole, Electric Dreams offers some of the best composing and playing of McLaughlin's career and has been unfairly overlooked.

Related link: John McLaughlin Reviews @ All About Jazz


Track Listing: Guardian Angels; Miles Davis: Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs; Desire and the Comforter; Love and Understanding; Singing Earth; The Dark Prince; The Unknown Dissident

Personnel: John McLaughlin- guitar; L. Shankar- violin; Tony Smith- drums; Fernando Saunders- bass; Stu Goldberg- keyboards

Year Released: 1978 | Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


CD/LP/Track Review
Talking 2 Musicians
Building a Jazz Library
Live Reviews
Book Reviews
Talking 2 Musicians
Read more articles
Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
Paco and John - Live...
Eagle Eye Media
2016
buy
The Boston Record
The Boston Record
Abstract Logix
2014
buy
Now Here This
Now Here This
Abstract Logix
2013
buy
[no cover]
Mahavishnu
Challenge Jazz
2013
buy
Now Here This
Now Here This
Abstract Logix
2012
buy
To The One
To The One
Abstract Logix
2010
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Al Di Meola Al Di Meola
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Larry Coryell Larry Coryell
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.