John McLaughlin's first recording as a leader features the future innovator playing guitar in an English quartet. Although McLaughlin contributed all ten pieces, baritonist John Surman actually dominates this music, often swinging quite hard. The historically significant set, although a lesser-known item in McLaughlin's discography, is quite musical and enjoyable in its own right.
Where Fortune Smiles is really a John Surman recording, but subsequent re-releases have passed the credit on to John McLaughlin (for obvious reasons). The music is similar to but more dense than Extrapolation. McLaughlin's raw sound was starting to take shape by this time and his impeccable chops are on full display. So too are those of the underrated vibraphonist Karl Berger and, of course, soprano saxophonist Surman. The foundation is held loosely in place by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Stu Martin. It's a challenging but interesting listen, especially given McLaughlin's later success and popularity.
A household name since the early '70s, John McLaughlin was an innovative fusion guitarist when he led the Mahavishnu Orchestra and continued living up to his reputation as a phenomenal and consistently inquisitive player through the years. He started on guitar when he was 11 and was initially inspired by blues and swing players. John McLaughlin worked with David Bowie, Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, and others in the 1960s and played free jazz with Gunter Hampel for six months. His first album was a classic (1969's Extrapolation) and was followed by an obscurity for the Dawns label with John Surman, a quintet set with Larry Young (Devotion), and My Goals Beyond in 1970 which was half acoustic solos and half jams involving Indian musicians.
New version of the Paco de Lucía Integral, 27 CDs his complete work remastered. "Cositas Buenas", his last album, comes as a new in this new Integral. Now in a new economic format. This collection is a unique tour of the work of Paco de Lucia from 1964 to 2004. Flamenco is not improvised: everything is carefully rehearsed. Every falseta, every step of the dance, although it may appear spontaneous is based on conscientious preparation. Flamenco artists are not fans of improvisation in their public performances; only in the dance are small spaces left. In the singing and above all the guitar there is no place for improvisation.
Here is a boldly original fusion experiment from the virtuoso Indian instrumentalist who designed his own slide guitars so they could match the intricacies of the sitar. Now, Debashish Bhattacharya has expanded his range with a set that includes vocal work from his teenage daughter, Anandi, tabla players who worked with Ravi Shankar, and collaborations with very different guitarists from around the world.
At this point, it is easy to see that the John McLaughlin story has become a peripatetic journey of electric-acoustic switchbacks, with the formation of the One Truth Band that plays on this LP being just another short chapter in the saga. And this time, McLaughlin is thoroughly in charge: there is little of the competitive dueling or tightly drilled, high-volume unison lines of the past; it's the guitarist and his sidemen, although sometimes keyboardist Stu Goldberg steps out with some wicked chops. McLaughlin returns Miles Davis' favor of naming a piece on Bitches Brew after him by turning the tables, and indeed, "Miles Davis" often has the loose, jamming feeling (and a quote of "It's About That Time") of the maestro's own jazz-rock sessions.