A lot of these Two for Tuesdays feature my admission that I didn’t like the artist nor his or her body of work when I first heard it, but that as time has gone by I find the music has gotten better, or I understand it better, or my taste has changed, and sometimes it’s a whole lot better than what’s playing on the radio. This is one of those cases.
John McLaughlin is, according to Jeff Beck, “the greatest guitarist alive.” When I first heard the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early Seventies, I wondered what people saw in the music, which to my untrained ear sounded more like noise than anything. It surprised me, then, when he made an appearance on James Taylor’s One Man Dog album, backing Taylor on what might be the most beautiful cut on that album, “Someone” (which he also wrote). The more I heard him, the better I liked him, and while his work with Mahavishnu was still a little inaccessible, I thought his playing was superb.
I’ve chosen five tunes from different periods in his career to showcase his prowess as a guitar player.
You Know You Know – With the Mahavishnu Orchestra (Jerry Goodman, violin; Jan Hammer, keyboards; Billy Cobham, drums; Rick Laird, bass)
Someone – With James Taylor
Flame Sky 1 – With Carlos Santana (live from a 1973 concert)
Django – With Jeff Beck (a jazz standard)
Mediterranean Sun Dance – With Al DiMeola and Paco De Lucia
John McLaughlin, your Two (plus three!) for Tuesday, April 12, 2016.