Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

412

John McLaughlin and The Heart of Things: Live In Paris

Walter Kolosky By

Sign in to view read count
You just knew this band was going to put it all together. This is the Heart of Things album Verve should have released first. Yes, their debut studio effort was good. But in all facets it is humbled by this live recording.

The track list does not suggest much excitement. After all, the only new composition on the album is "Tony", a tribute to the late drummer Tony Williams. "Seven Sisters," "Fallen Angels" and "Acid Jazz" all make a return visit from the debut album. "Mother Tongues," an old JM Trio stalwart, and Gary Thomas' "The Divide" round out the set. Many listeners hoped to hear more new material, such as the kick-ass version of "Jazz Jungle" which the band had performed during their short European tour. But, alas, it's mysteriously absent, along with another featured tune from the tour, "Stella By Starlight." What a bummer.

An actual listen to Live in Paris brings an entirely new appreciation to the music. McLaughlin afficionados have had a long running debate about McLaughlin's use of a ring-modulator to distort his guitar. This reviewer has always been firmly in the "nay" camp. But here, the ring-modulated guitar, used sparingly as it is, is the absolute right choice! A vamp on "Acid Jazz," leading into a blistering show-ending duel with drummer Dennis Chambers, derives its entire character from the ring-modulator.

As usual, Chambers turns in an outstanding performance, and his solo turn on "Tony" is powerful and meaningful music. It is the essence of a heartfelt tribute. Matt Garrison provides the bottom end, and not too few bass flourishes. The bassist is especially up front on "Mother Tongues." Otmaro Ruiz, a welcome addition, takes over for Jim Beard on keyboards and synthesizers. He and McLaughlin engage in a furious call and response passage on "Mother Tongues" that you hope will never end. He also adds a beautiful piano intro to "Tony."

The inclusion of Gary Thomas on sax is an enigma. It's hard to tell if he's an average player or a genius. The confusion is caused by the fact that his playing seems so effortless. But I do really like his playing on this album. The composition he contributes, "The Divide," stands as a dramatic high point that provides fodder for all of the musicians to let loose. Thomas continues moving to the "great" column, album by album. Victor Williams adds his percussion shadings to enhance the overall sound.

There is something about this band that you can't quite put your finger on. The group plays exciting and uplifting music. But at the same time, a dark and brooding undertow runs through it all. While I may not be able to explain it, I sure as hell like it.

And finally, what can you say about JM? To be as fresh and vital as he sounds on this album is a true testament to his lifelong devotion to the music. The compositions are strong. The band is powerful and tight. The crowd adds to the ambiance. Although more new material would have made a difference, this is an outstanding and refreshing high-energy fusion outing from the Heart of Things.

Related link: John McLaughlin Reviews @ All About Jazz .


Track Listing: Seven Sisters; Mother Tongues; Fallen Angels; The Divide; Tony; Acid Jazz

Personnel: John McLaughlin- guitar; Dennis Chambers- drums; Matt Garrison- bass; Gary Thomas- sax; Otmaro Ruiz- keyboards; Victor Williams- percussion

Title: Live In Paris | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Interviews
Year in Review
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Talking 2 Musicians
Building a Jazz Library
Live Reviews
Book Reviews
Talking 2 Musicians
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
Book Excerpts
Album Reviews
Read more articles
John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring - Live in San Francisco

John McLaughlin and...

Abstract Logix
2018

buy
Live at Ronnie Scott's

Live at Ronnie Scott's

Abstract Logix
2017

buy
Where Fortune Smiles

Where Fortune Smiles

Esoteric Recordings
2017

buy
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

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Apr23Tue
John McLaughlin
Barbican Centre
London, UK

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019