John McLaughlin served up shred at NPS
Sunday of TD Jazz Festival came back again to the big tent at Nathan Phillips Square to showcase none other than John McLaughlin, widely considered on of the greatest guitar players of all time right up there with Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Slash.
His career has spanned four decades and he is credited as the pioneer of hybrid jazz-rock and jazz-fusion. His first hit group was of course Mahavishnu Orchestra, the group that would go on to help reenergize and redefine flamenco music with a trio of guitarists that included none other then Paco De Lucia and Ai Di Meola.
Even at 71, McLaughlin still appears to be very spry and have a hop in his step up on stage. He basically treated the culturally diverse crowd to a clinic on how guitar solos should be done.Young and old, the crowd stood there in awe and wonderment. After almost every song the crowd showered McLaughlin with applause and appreciation for the raw talent he and his band were displaying. McLaughlin, being the consummate performer and musician he is, made sure to showcase the members of his 4th dimension band, so Etienne Mbappe did a guitar solo, Gary Husband switched from the keyboard and did a drum number with Ranjit Barot, and Barot scatted while performing the impressive drum solo not once but twice.
One of the Highlights of the show was McLaughlin’s performance of “Mother Tongues” straight from the heart. During the interlude of the song, Husband jumped directly from the keyboard to the drums and picked up the beat to play in time with Barot, it was a sight to see.The piece de resistance was when McLaughlin gave his adoring audience an encore song “You Know You” which happen to be from his wildly popular debut album The Inner Mounting Flame. The track has since been sampled by the likes of David Sylvain, Black Sheep and Massive Attack. Upon the conclusion of “You know You” the crowd lept to their feet and gave him and his band a very loud and raucous standing ovation.
After the show about 100 or so fans gathered at the merchandise table to meet the living legend, get a photo and/or an autograph, thus further enshrining why these aging septuagenarians have very loyal fan bases.
Story and Photos by Tee Onek