Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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McLAUGHLIN, John

(b 4 January 1942, Yorkshire) Electric guitarist; not a great soloist, but sound, textures and ideas made him a pioneer in fusion. He recorded in Newcastle '67 with Mike Carr and others; played with Graham Bond, Brian Auger. His first solo LP Extrapolation '69 with John Surman on Polydor charted in the USA '72. He went to the USA and played on In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew with Miles Davis '69. He also played in Tony Williams's group Lifetime; his solo albums '71-2 were Devotion on Douglas with rock drummer Buddy Miles and My Goal's Beyond on Polydor (since on other labels) with Jerry Goodman on violin (ex- Flock), Alla Rakha on tabla, and drummer Billy Cobham. Then he added bassist Rick Laird and Jan Hammer on keyboards to form the Mahavishnu Orchestra (named under the inflluence of a guru) for jazz/rock/Indian fusion LPs The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds Of Fire (no. 15 LP USA) and live Between Nothingness And Eternity '72-3 on Columbia (CBS) to public and critical acclaim, but the group split up because of internal dissension.

He made duet LP Love, Devotion, Surrender '73 with Carlos Santana, and used the Mahavishnu name for himself and various lineups: Apocalypse '74 (with producer George Martin, The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas), Visions Of The Emerald Beyond '75, Inner Worlds '76; also formed and recorded with groups Shakti (see their entry) and the One Truth Band (Electric Dreams '79). Other LPs: Electric Guitarist '78 with Santana, Williams, Goodman, Cobham, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea; Friday Night In San Francisco '81 and Passion, Grace And Fire '83 as the Guitar Trio (with Al Di Meola and Paco DeLucia, re-formed '96 for a tour) all on CBS. Belo Horizonte '81 and Music Spoken Here '82 were on WB; Adventures In Radioland had saxophonist Bill Evans mid-'80s; played on Zakir Hussain's Making Music '87 on ECM; played one track in soundtrack LP Round Midnight '86. Albums on Verve included Time Remembered with the Aighetta Guitar Quartet (a tribute to pianist Bill Evans), a trio of organ, drums and guitar called Free Spirits for Tokyo Live '93, a career retrospective with stellar guests, The Promise '96, and a heavier fusion quintet album The Heart Of Things '97.