of the most versatile and influential guitarists of our time,
John McLaughlin is known as an extraordinary solo artist, as the
leader of both the group breaking Mahavishnu Orchestra and the
revolutionary indo-jazz group Shakti and as the composer of some
of the most stunning classical Jazz-fusion pieces ever written.
in Yorkshire, England, John McLaughlin first began to receive
public attention as a member of Georgie Fame's Blues Flames. He
then joined the Graham Bond Organisation, Brian Auger's Trinity,
and in 1968 formed his own band and recorded the prize-winning
Moving to the USA in 1969, John McLaughlin joined Lifetime, a
group that had great impact on the American Jazz scene. In
addition to Lifetime, McLaughlin worked with Wayne Shorter and was personally invited to work and record
with the legendary Miles Davis.
His desire to make an album displaying the richness and purity of
the acoustic guitar led McLaughlin to join forces with drummer
Billy Cobham and violinist Jerry Goodman. The results were My
Goals Beyond, a record that was acclaimed as one of the best
of the early seventies. With Goodman, Cobham, Rick Laird and Jan
Hammer, he then went on to form the brillant Jazz fusion group Mahavishnu
Orchestra. The group enjoyed immerse popularity and
McLaughlin's striking artistry and passionate led critics to hail
him as "The Guitar Hero".
While continuing with Mahavishnu Orchestra, McLaughlin worked and
recorded with many other artists including Carlos Santana (Love
Devotion Surrender) and the London Symphony Orchestra,
conducted by Michael Tison Thomas (Apocalypse).
Due to both his need for constant innovation and a desire to play
acoustic guitar exclusively, McLaughlin formed Shakti.
The group was a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western musical
traditions and was praised throughout the world.
Continuing his busy record career, McLaughlin invited Chick Corea and David Sanborn to record Johnny McLaughlin
Electric Guitarist, Katia Labeque to perform on Music
Spoken Here and then teamed up with fellow guitarists Paco DeLucia and Al Di Meola for two albums, Passion Grace
and Fire and Friday Night in San Francisco.
John McLaughlin appeared with Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock in
Bertrand Tavernier's highly acclaimed film "Round
Another triumph was the premiere of his Concerto for Guitar and
Orchestra called "Mediterranean". Commissioned by
Ernest Fleishman, executive director of the Los Angeles
Philharmonic, the Concerto was first performed in Los Angeles in
November 1985, with McLaughlin as soloist, and received a
standing ovation from the first night audience and raves from the
critics. Further performances took place all over the world since
then and early 1990 the recording of the Concerto was released on
CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical) with the London Symphony
Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas.
A second Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra called
"Europa" was commissioned by the Deutsche
Kammerphilharmonie and performed with that fine young orchestra
during a tour that led through all the capitals of Europe.
In 1988, parallel to his more classical oriented activities, John
McLaughlin founded a new Trio with electric bass and percussion,
which led to a long and deep musical friendship with the Indian
percussionist Trilok Gurtu. The John McLaughlin Trio toured all over
the world for five successive years and received overwhelming
success both of critics and audiences. Two albums were released Life
at the Royal Festival Hall (1990) and Que Allegria
Since 1993 we have seen John McLaughlin tour with a new band The
Free Spirits, again playing electric guitar with Dennis Chambers on drums and Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond organ.
Dennis' solid rhythm, the "earthy" sound of the Hammond
combined with the unique style of McLaughlin ... it is exciting
to hear the essence of all the experiences he has gone through
since the beginning of his career.
Parallel to the working with the new group John McLaughlin
released what he calls a "long dream of recording": Time
Remembered, John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans. Bill Evans'
music played by 6 acoustic guitars, a true homage to a musicians
John admired all his life. To another "hero" of his,
John Coltrane, he dedicated his latest album After the Rain.
The Free Spirits' first album Tokyo Live has been released
in April 1994. After The Rain, a tribute to John Coltrane
(feat. Elvin Jones) released April 1995 (both on Polygram/Verve).