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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: John McLaughlin
Category: Other Musicians
From: Paul  Stump (London, England)

Dear Pat, many thanks for all the wonderful things you've done with my ears over the last ten years or so...

I am writing a biography of John McLaughlin for SAF Books of London, England. I have published three books already, one on Progressive rock, one on Tangerine Dream and one on Brian Ferry and Roxy Music. Now it's John's turn! I have also written for magazines like Harper's, The Wire, and also for Brit newspapers, The Se Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian etc (I hope the website boys will lose all these bits!). I don't play much guitar, and would like very much to have your thoughts on what makes John special. Don't worry about sounding technical or esoteric- quote a solo, if you wish. I will of course acknowledge your reply... just feel free to go on about the subject as long as time allows.

Once again, thanks for everything.


Pat’s Answer:

to me, john is one of the most significant figures in the modern history of the guitar. it is usually enough for someone to affect the evolution of their instrument once in their career - john has done it at least three times. first, with the amazing and refreshing conceptual leap that was the record "my goals beyond" where he in one record indicated a way of playing that spawned an entire subgroup of records by guitar players. the second, and probably most important,was the mahavishnu orchestra - along with weather report, the next giant leap in the evolution of jazz ensemble playing since the breakthroughs of ornette coleman's quartet, the john coltrane quartet, and the miles davis quintet of roughly a decade before. and then, shakti, where he became the first western musician to succesfully function in an environment that had attracted but eluded western improvising musicians for decades. he is a giant - one of my favorite musicians and composers ever.