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John McLaughlin - Devotion (1970)

Updated on August 14, 2016
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John McLaughlin (January 4, 1942, Doncaster, UK), also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is a guitarist, bandleader and composer originated from the 70's called jazz-fusion or jazz-rock movement. Although his musical contribution transcends genres and cultures, pioneering integration movements of jazz with the music of North and South India (Shakti), with Flamenco (Guitar Trio), with rock (first with Miles Davis on "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" and from the 70's onwards with their groups "Mahavishnu Orchestra", "The Heart of Things", "Five Peace Band" and now "John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension ") and classical music (in his "Concerto for guitar and orchestra" and the album "Thieves and Poets").

John McLaughlin & Chick Corea
John McLaughlin & Chick Corea | Source

McLaughlin moved to London from Yorkshire to get involved in the thriving music scene of the early 60s, beginning with The Marzipan Twisters, was then with Georgie Fame's backing band, in the band Brian Auger, and finally with Graham Bond Quartet in 1963. throughout this period, often he had to endure long work sessions, which was not very happy, but he managed to improve his playing and performance skills.

Before moving to USA, McLaughlin launched its work ''Extrapolation'', their debut album, his first album as a leader, only album he recorded before joining Miles, which sounds as fresh today as it sounded back in 1969. A work jazz recorded in Advision Studios in London on January 18, 1969, and first released later that year by Giorgio Gomelsky's Marmalade Records.

After releasing their first album, travels to the US and joined the Miles Davis band, with which participates in the recording of ''Bitches Brew''. During that time and 70's, he was part of the recording, as collaboration, countless albums, including ''Things We Like'', jazz work lead by Jack Bruce.

In the same year, 1970, he released his second solo album, recorded shortly after his departure from the band of Miles Davis, and before forming the Mahavishnu Orchestra. To do this, forms an eventual band, with very good musicians for recording, was Buddy Miles (Hendrix's drummer) on drums, an american keyboardist, Larry Young on organ and electric piano, and american bassist Eddie Wilbur, in bass justly.

Pushed by the styles that were developed at the time, McLaughlin made a job with the ambient sound of the moment, psychedelic and merely merged, bringing up his tremendous guitar attributes, his bestial and crushing technique, virtuosity, and placing the order an almost embryonic, primary sound, almost like a prototypical sound the same guitarist, in which he himself would be brewing in their own merger game, expanding, as a preliminary step before arriving to achieve and what would later, his tremendous work with the Mahavishnu.

Miles Davis & John McLaughlin at Easy Sound Studio, Copenhagen. January 1985, recording "Aura".
Miles Davis & John McLaughlin at Easy Sound Studio, Copenhagen. January 1985, recording "Aura". | Source

In the first album did some jazz, and on this album brought that jazz and merged with psychedelia, it's not psychedelic jazz, but a more careful fusion, a psychedelic swarm appears to have been recorded in a jam session, and that issues arise all very unexpected at the time, without a formal order or structure, but rather, on the contrary, are improvisations in which they are traveling all styles that will be happening to them, blues, rock, some jazz rock, Latin rock, all in a distinctly psychedelic packaging and guitar distortion McLaughlin fully charged, is an album that, while not hard, is certainly very heavy, for that guitar sound and the power of their own.

It seems a typical study session of Jimi Hendrix, pieces purely improvised with a guitar denoting his tremendous ability, very bluesy and full of fuzz, with many changes and improvisations, and a hammond filling the background, if I had been told that actually this was a Hendrix's recording studio session, I calmly could have believed.


The sound is turned to a somewhat syrupy side and somewhat mysterious, moody, frantic, very improvised, it's a very particular sound, a very personal fusion developed by McLaughlin, who combines exquisite elements and, of course, the result is also exquisite, very good.

Then came one of the highlights of his career, would create his electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, exploiting its technically virtuosic and complex style of music, fusing electric jazz with progressive rock, along with other sounds like some indian influences, hogging the most attention and influence within the fusion ambient, one of the highest landmarks of the genre.

In 2010 guitarist Jeff Beck called him "the greatest living guitarist". The indian master table; Zakir Hussain has called him "one of the biggest and one of the important musicians of our time" and have not erred, he's an amazing, experimental guitarist, with a tremendous display of technique and mergers, and countless launched works, which transits, as we have said, for countless genres, sub genres, mergers, styles, certainly, he is one of the most important guitarists of the rock era, and here we are celebrating with their second album. There will be more time to his other works, for now enjoy ''Devotion'' and a theme extracted from his collaboration with Miles Davis, '' Yellow '', from the album ''Aura''.

Personal life

McLaughlin's wife is named Ina. They had a son named Luke in 1998.He has lived in Monaco since the late 1980's.He was formerly married to the French pianist Katia Labèque, who was also a member of his band in the early 1980's. Before that he was married to Eve when he was a disciple of Sri Chinmoy. He was first married to Sue, with whom he had a son Julian in 1966.

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