“May be the greatest record I have ever made,” says John McLaughlin.
John McLaughlin has already said Floating Point , his brand new CD, “May be the best record I ever made.” That’s really saying something when you consider McLaughlin’s prolific and trailblazing career. The guitarist and composer has appeared on some of the most important jazz-rock and world music albums in the last 40 years.
It’s hard to believe, but the jazz-rock pioneer McLaughlin is now in his 50th year as a professional musician. From his days as a 16 year-old kid in Pete Deuchar’s Professors of Ragtime, through his historic run with Miles Davis, his groundbreaking band Mahavishnu Orchestra, collaborations with Carlos Santana, playing world music with the legendary Indo-fusion unit Shakti even before it was called “world music,” performing with symphony orchestras and in so many other disparate projects- McLaughlin has been raising the musical bar across genres for decades.
Considered by many to be among the finest guitarists there has ever been, McLaughlin’s compositions, often considered too abstract or complicated for mass appeal, are beginning to take hold on newer generations of musicians who use these tunes to test their mettle. Over the last couple of years, there have been no less than four John McLaughlin tribute albums, with another one coming soon. A visit to YouTube will find hundreds of his own performances and scores of modern day artists interpreting his vast catalog.
For Floating Point, which was recorded in India, McLaughlin used several of the best Indian musicians in the world. They include keyboardist Louiz Banks, drummer Ranjit Barot, electric sitarist Niladri Kumar, flautists Shashank and Naveen Kumar, percussionist Sivamani, vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, electric mandolinist U.Rajesh, and Hindustini slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya. Joining them were other Western stars saxophonist George Brooks and sensational young bassist Hadrien Feraud. With a line-up like that, you would expect a very Indian experience. But, McLaughlin says not necessarily so.
“Now while this CD features predominantly Indian musicians, we are in quite another form compared to the group Shakti,” McLaughlin says. “The music is for the most part ‘Jazz-Fusion’ if a label has to be put on it. But with the musicians involved in this project, it has also a ‘world’ kind of atmosphere.”
McLaughlin adds, “I really am happy with the outcome of this CD which actually came about quite spontaneously and without any real planning. You can hear in the music where I am in my development, and in which directions I’m moving. It was a real thrill to play with these players, and I offer my thanks to them for their unique contributions. I truly wish and hope that it brings something to the listeners. I also offer my deep thanks to them for their continued support to my dedicated work.”
A behind the scenes DVD of the making of Floating Point will also be released. Filmed over a period of five days, it gives an intimate look at the spontaneity and vitality with which the CD was recorded. Further insight is offered through musician interviews and an extra audio track of McLaughlin providing commentary. It is the perfect companion piece for those who enjoy the CD and or would like to get a closer look at how minds meet during a modern recording session.
Floating Point and Meeting of the Spirits are scheduled for release in April 2008.
The recordings are being released under the auspices of Mediastarz (Europe) and AbstractLogix (USA).