To honor the Maestro’s 80th birthday here is a 1998 concert where he sports my favorite of his guitars and uses my favorite sound, a kind of ring modulated tone, but with discernible pitches. We talk about this tone and that guitar in my interview with him reposted here as well. Coincidentally, Jim Beard quotes “Happy Birthday” in one of his early solos.
If anyone has ever advanced the guitar it would Maestro McLaughlin. He has a great new record out, Liberation Time, made all the more amazing by being recorded remotely. While making the Zoom press rounds, he graciously agreed to talk to my humble publication. We talk Miles, Mustangs, and my favorite band of his with Joey De Francesco and Elvin Jones/Dennis Chambers.
I believe BibiAudiofil2 was gone from YouTube for a while but now is back. He is a Romanian music fan who has somehow amassed the most amazing collection of modern music videos I I have ever seen. For modern guitar fans, this includes vintage live footage of players like Bill Frisell, Terje Rypdal (a bonanza of videos), Marc Ribot, Pat Metheny, David Torn (with Don Cherry in 1979!), John McLaughlin, and Ralph Towner. Get over to the site while you have time and before he gets taken down.
Here is Eivind Aarset with the band that started the Guitar Moderne journey for me.
Confession: I was not a Mahavishnu Orchestra fan. There I said it. Oh, I recognized the technical excellence and the energy of the playing, and the groundbreaking new melding of jazz and rock. But, for me, as jazz it didn’t swing and as rock I couldn’t get past McLaughlin’s note-y style and what I considered an inferior guitar tone to legends like Clapton, Beck and Hendrix. In fact, I never really got into the British jazz legend and fusion pioneer until his Coltrane tribute album, After the Rain, with Elvin Jones and Joey DeFrancesco. I loved the sound of his full-bodied archtop through a chorus and his use of the Bigsby to make the end of notes fall off plaintively.