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John McLaughlin Group

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 a guitar.

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.



John McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist John McLaughlin - Birds of Fire John McLaughlin - Extrapolation John McLaughlin - Industrial Zen



Click the images below to see Etienne Mbappé and The Prophets @ the 606 Club, 2015, or
John McLaughlin @ the Royal Festival Hall, 2014, or
John McLaughlin with Chick Corea @ the Royal Festival, 2008...

Etienne Mbappé and The Prophets @ the 606 Club. (click to go to his page) John McLaughlin @ the Royal Festival Hall, 2014. (click to go to his page) John McLaughlin with Chick Corea @ the Royal Festival Hall, 2008  (click to go to his page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2012 home page.

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