John McLaughlin Group
@ the Barbican Centre
11 November 2012
Click an image to enlarge.
John McLaughlin was born on January 4, 1942 in Yorkshire, Great
Britain. Although his mother was a violinist, he starts learning
piano at the age of 9. Two years later, he changed the piano for
By the end of the 50’s, McLaughlin performed with banjoist,
Pete Deuchar and his Professors of Ragtime, he decided to leave
for London where he made his first professional steps in rock and
blues groups. In the beginning of the 60’s, he crossed paths
with Georgie Fame and Blue Flames, performing with Alexis Korner,
the Graham Band Organisation and Trinity, the group of organ player
Brian Auger. Later, McLaughlin spent six months in Germany amid
the Gunter Hampel band.
In 1968, at the age of 26 McLaughlin initiated his first personal
projects and formed his own group with John Surman, Tony Okley and
bassist Brian Odges. The same year he stood for the kick-off of
his discographical career as a leader with the recording of his
first album: “Extrapolation” (1969). As well as working
on his own projects, McLaughlin found time to work with and contribute
to many jazz classics such as Miles Davis’ “In A Silent
Way”, “Bitches Brew”, “Big Fun” in
1969, then “A tribute to Jack Johnson”, “Live
Evil” in 1970, and “On The Corner” in 1972.
McLaughlin also recorded with Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Dave
Holland: however, the tapes of this session remain unreleased. Electric
fusion attracts musicians coming out from different horizons. After
becoming a disciple of guru Shri Chinmoy Ghose, the McLaughlin took
the name of Mahavishnu. After a new solo album “My Goals Beyond”
(1970), he set up one of the outstanding groups of these jazz rock
years: The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Billy Cobham, Jam Hammer, Jerry
Goodman, and bassist Rick Laird feature in the original line up.
Despite much recording success, the adventure of the band came
to an end, but would start episodically again with new musicians:
Jean-Luc Ponty et Gayle Moran, Bill Evans, Jonas Hellborg, Mitchell
Forman, Billy Cobham, Danny Gotlieb, Katia Labèque, Hariprasad
Chaurasia and Hussain.
After a brief guitarist summit encounter with Carlos Santana in
1972, John McLaughlin decided to play with Indian musicians: violinist
L. Shankar, percussionist
Zakir Hussain and Raghavan. Shakti was born in1975, and until 1977,
the band toured the world. Many more collaborations and recording
would follow in the years to come.
In 1993, John McLaughlin turned a new page, and decided to come
back to his former passion for trio with a Hammond organ. He appeals
to es-funk drummer Dennis Chambers, and a fresh new young talent
discovered by Miles Davis, named Joey De Francesco.
John McLaughlin has recorded many landmark albums and worked with
many diverse legends of music such as Bill Evans, Joey De Francesco,
Jeff Beck, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Sting, Al Di Meola, Paco
De Lucia, Jim Beard, Victor Williams, Gary Thomas, Otmaro Ruiz,
Zakir Hussain, L. Shankar, Hadrien Féraud and Chick Corea.