Today I’m going back to one of my all time favorite guitarist, John McLaughlin. I discovered his music at the tender age of 18 and really fell head over heels for it when I heard the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a group that featured Chicago rock violinist Jerry Goodman, Billy Cobham on drums, and Rick Laird on bass. McLaughlin writes and plays some of the most complex music I’ve ever tried to play. His blistering arpeggios are jawdropping. In fact, I saw them in concert with Frank Zappa, and I was close enough to the stage that I could see McLaughlin put some kind of oil on his fingers, probably to keep them from burning up with the friction off the strings.
Although his electric work is amazing, I am most attracted to his acoustic pieces. His duets with Paco de Lucia and Al DiMeola are legendary. McLaughlin also has a knack for discovering budding young bass guitar virtuoso’s like Dominic Di Piazza, Kai Eckhardt, and Jonas Hellborg as well as the most brilliant percussionist in the world, Trilok Gurtu. He gets his “bass kids” when their barely out of the teens, lets them hone their skills with him for a year or two then turns them loose. You’ll see the proof in the videos below. Enjoy!
With Paco de Lucia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1IJcmxOa2k
Meeting of the Spirits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot5eXqhRs9I
With Dominic di Piazza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qst0kTzfW8w
With Jonas Hellborg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhdZDrjwE6I
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat with Jonas Hellborg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSybXLofaDM
Pacific Express with Jonas Hellborg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asNcg5YOtIw
With Kai Eckhard & Trilok Gurtu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7w8njCYZ9s
John McLaughlin calls for elegance, and I’ve got just the wine. The 2010 Chateau La Tour De Bessan Margaux ($22.00) is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. The wine has a nose full of dark berries and cassis. If you've never had French Bordeaux, you'll find the taste is quite distinct from the big bold Cabernet’s from California. It’s rather subtle, very dry, and, for lack of a better word, classy. The wine evolves in the glass exhibiting complex flavors of blackberries, currents, and spices. It’s a smooth finisher and an excellent wine for sipping as I lament the fact that it’s mid-April and snowing…again. I guess I’ll turn on the fireplace, listen to some blistering guitar and bass and work on a National Cancer Institute grant that I’m writing. Hope it’s warm wherever you are.