Click here for home page

Click here

Contact Us | Customer Information | Privacy Policy | Audio Help

Main Menu
Submit a review
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
DVD Reviews
Sign up for newsletter
Gig reviews
Get Your EMail Address
Submit your website
JOHN McLAUGHLIN My Goal's Beyond Wienerworld WNRCD5051 AD-03 (2010)

John McLaughlin

40 years on, and stripped of its spiritual pretensions, John McLaughlin's 'My Goals Beyond' still sounds like a groundbreaking work.

With the benefit of hindsight, this album can be viewed as a prototype for the later 'Shakti', but at the time it was a brave step forward from his previous psychedelic influenced 'Devotion' album to acoustic guitar led Indo-Jazz fusion music.

Back in 1970 this was heady stuff and the intervening years have not diminished the impact of either the playing or the project. McLaughlin was fired up by the twin imperatives of his post Miles creativity and his own spiritual quest. And it's testament to his personal and musical qualities that he was able to lead an ensemble of top players into exciting and challenging new territories.

Both the band efforts 'Peace One' and 'Peace Two' work equally well as self contained and linked suites and continue to hold broad appeal for the more adventurous rock-fusion palette.

The following acoustic sketches - including a superb rendition of 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat', on which McLaughlin brings fresh life to Mingus' almost perfect original - is probably more for the guitar cognoscenti.

Despite the fact that the eight acoustic tracks follow the lengthy band pieces, it is when John is in solo mode that you can grasp the key to his musical thoughts. His playing is very percussive throughout, and all of the short tracks are coloured by his little accents, ranging from occasional aggressive pulls on a string to a number of compressed note clusters.

On 'Peace One' he imperceptibly shifts from the role of accompanist to that of lead instrument, but nothing ever sounds forced. Indeed the really impressive thing about both 'Peace One' and 'Peace Two' is the organic feel of the playing where an individual idea is given an extra dimension by the other players in a layered format, grounded by the Charlie Hayden's gentle bass and Badal Roy's insistent tablas.

At different points of 'Peace Two' Jerry Goodman's violin is interchangeable with Dave Liebman's horn, while powerhouse drummer Billy Cobham propels the band forward. There's plenty of crisp cymbal work and Billy adds several rolls and even instigates a mid-number crescendo on 'Peace One'. McLaughlin contents himself by double tracking his rhythm lines and solos alongside Badal Roy's tablas, Airto's delicate percussion and Eve McLaughlin's (aka Mahalakshmi) harmonic accompaniment on tamboura.

Overall there's a real flow to the music and a sense of an eloquent conversation in which the tones and riffs are subtly voiced and the themes gently enunciated as the ideas ebb and flow. There also seems to be plenty of spontaneity, in an approach not too dissimilar to that of the Eastern blues fusion pursued in the mid 60's by Paul Butterfield's 'East-West' project.

And while the opening two weighty pieces of 'My Goal Is Beyond' might be regarded as groundbreaking examples of fusion and world music (with a nod to both Joe Harriott and John Mayer), John McLaughlin's solo pieces are probably more for guitar and jazz fans.

That said, the aforementioned 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' is simply startling, while he's more contemplative on 'Hearts and Flowers' and adds more notes and a dash of melody on the self penned 'Philip Lane'.

On Chic Corea's 'Waltz For Bill Evans' he utilizes space and tonal textures in between brief solo flurries in contrast to 'Follow Your Heart' which is the work of a guitarist whose creative restlessness was to lead him to the altogether heavier Mahavishna Orchestra within the year.

Adventurous, dazzling and possibly even spiritual by turns, 'My Goal's Beyond' is an enduring work that continues to shine light on music that is at times both inspirational and breathtaking.


Review by Pete Feenstra


Print this page in printer friendly format

Print this page in printer-friendly format

Tell a friend about this page

Tell a friend about this page

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

get ready to rock is a division of hotdigitsnewmedia group

Featured Artists
Artist Archive
Featured Labels
Label Archive
Do you want to appear here?