All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

564

John McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist

Walter Kolosky By

Sign in to view read count
If you listen to McLaughlin's version of "My Foolish Heart" from 1978's Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist, it's hard to logically explain how the same guitarist had also produced the sounds found on so many of his earlier records. It's hard to reconcile this tune with his approach on his debut Extrapolation, Miles' Tribute to Jack Johnson, Larry Coryell's Spaces, and various recordings by the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti. None of those earlier performances would have prepared you for McLaughlin's beautiful treatment of Victor Young and Nat Washington's jazz standard. His warm and serene arrangement sounds like the antithesis of what McLaughlin was known for.

Electric Guitarist was meant to be a comeback record for McLaughlin. Columbia Records was none too pleased that McLaughlin had produced three straight records with his Indian acoustic world music group Shakti. These records would eventually reach legendary status, but at the time they sold embarrassingly poorly. There was hope at Columbia that Electric Guitarist would bring John McLaughlin back to the top of the record sales heap. In the end, although it sold well, it did not sell as many records as Columbia had hoped.

Electric Guitarist features many of McLaughlin's contemporaries, including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Narada Michael Walden, Carlos Santana, Jerry Goodman, and David Sanborn. There is not one weak cut on the entire album. Electric Guitarist also marks the first recorded use of McLaughlin's scalloped fretboard electric guitar, an idea from his Shakti experience that gave him a brand new sound. McLaughlin was able to bend notes and even chords beyond limits. This technique opened up a whole new vocabulary for his compositions.

Key cuts to play really loud include a duet with Billy Cobham, "Phenomenon-Compulsion," and "Are You the One? Are You the One?," featuring Tony Williams and Jack Bruce. This tune harkens back to the great Tony Williams Lifetime that featured McLaughlin, Bruce and the late Larry Young on organ. Even though, for obvious reasons, Young couldn't make this gig, he would have loved this tune. "Do You Hear The Voices You Left Behind," based upon the changes of Coltrane's "Giant Steps," is an unrelenting jazz force that McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette play for all they are worth.

Many all-star recordings do not live up to their promise. This album is not one of them. Johnny McLaughlin- Electric Guitarist was the last important recording of the initial jazz-fusion movement.

Related link: John McLaughlin Reviews @ All About Jazz


Track Listing: New York On My Mind; Friendship; Every Tear from every eye; Do You Hear The Voices You Left Behind?; Are You the One? Are You The One?; Phenomenon: Compulsion; My Foolish Heart

Personnel: John McLaughlin- guitar; Carlos Santana-guitar; Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Walden, Tony Smith, Tony Williams- drums; Stu Goldberg, Tom Coster, Patrice Rushen, Chick Corea-keyboards; many others

Title: Electric Guitarist | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Columbia Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Colours of Sound CD/LP/Track Review
Colours of Sound
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 23, 2018
Read A Blast From The Past CD/LP/Track Review
A Blast From The Past
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Rhapsody CD/LP/Track Review
Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read You're Driving Me Crazy CD/LP/Track Review
You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read "Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds" CD/LP/Track Review Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds
by John Sharpe
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "Departure" CD/LP/Track Review Departure
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Rondane" CD/LP/Track Review Rondane
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 3, 2018
Read "VEIN plays Ravel" CD/LP/Track Review VEIN plays Ravel
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 13, 2017