John McLaughlin & Paco de Lucia: Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987 it's truly a shame that, all too often, artists with diverse careers become pigeon-holed, defined by the primary genre in which they first achieved notoriety. Take guitarist John McLaughlin, for instance. Ask most jazz fans about him and what will first come out of most of their mouths will include either the words "fusion," "jazz-rock" and/or Miles Davis, in any permutation/combination (not that there's anything wrong with that). Those a little further in the know might also be aware of his longstanding investigation into the nexus of eastern and western music with his Indo-collaboration, Shakti.
New version of the Paco de Lucía Integral, 27 CDs his complete work remastered. "Cositas Buenas", his last album, comes as a new in this new Integral. Now in a new economic format. This collection is a unique tour of the work of Paco de Lucia from 1964 to 2004. Flamenco is not improvised: everything is carefully rehearsed. Every falseta, every step of the dance, although it may appear spontaneous is based on conscientious preparation. Flamenco artists are not fans of improvisation in their public performances; only in the dance are small spaces left. In the singing and above all the guitar there is no place for improvisation.
Two years after they recorded Friday Night in San Francisco, John McLaughlin, Al di Meola and Paco de Lucía reunited for another set of acoustic guitar trios, Passion, Grace and Fire, If this can be considered a guitar "battle" (some of the playing is ferocious and these speed demons do not let up too often), then the result is a three-way tie…
Here is a boldly original fusion experiment from the virtuoso Indian instrumentalist who designed his own slide guitars so they could match the intricacies of the sitar. Now, Debashish Bhattacharya has expanded his range with a set that includes vocal work from his teenage daughter, Anandi, tabla players who worked with Ravi Shankar, and collaborations with very different guitarists from around the world.
At this point, it is easy to see that the John McLaughlin story has become a peripatetic journey of electric-acoustic switchbacks, with the formation of the One Truth Band that plays on this LP being just another short chapter in the saga. And this time, McLaughlin is thoroughly in charge: there is little of the competitive dueling or tightly drilled, high-volume unison lines of the past; it's the guitarist and his sidemen, although sometimes keyboardist Stu Goldberg steps out with some wicked chops. McLaughlin returns Miles Davis' favor of naming a piece on Bitches Brew after him by turning the tables, and indeed, "Miles Davis" often has the loose, jamming feeling (and a quote of "It's About That Time") of the maestro's own jazz-rock sessions.
Excellent addition to any fusion music collection
Somehow passed over and nearly forgotten, languishing in the shadow of the 'Friday Night in San Francisco' set, is this great album from the guitar hero team. The immediacy of that first release is still here but this session benefits from the quiet calm of the studio and less chance for the these luminaries to get caught up in showmanship. Rather, a proper selection of music is heard and the delicate balance the three achieve between jazz spontaneity, Spanish heat, and the precision of Latin fusion is more clearly rendered than on the beloved but somewhat cold 'Friday Night'. And the music is better, too, if only from lack of exposure.
Essential: a masterpiece of fusion music
The day I heard these three musicians, I was literally "combed back." Well, is that this concert became part of the essential in guitar history (long before fashion "unplugged").