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New John McLaughlin interview

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26 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:46 am

When I think back to the evening I first heard MO on FM and the instant impact it made, indeed, no one can argue with fact They made an indelible mark on 20th century music. There has really been nothing like them since, has there? Who? What? Some might say RTF or Weather Report, or maybe some of JLP's more powerful bands. The difference between all of them is Billy. There has never been a drummer in the driver's seat like him, in that kind of band. The whole thing was an innovation in progress, but Billy made that band a jaw dropping ensemble. His command of the drum throne is what gave the others the platform to explore and extrapolate and explode. If Billy was not in that position I do not believe the MO would have achieved what it did. They would have achieved something, but not what they did. John brought in his religious influence to the compositions which made it unique, and his playing was outrageous for the time. And yes, no one can knock a career like his and his contributions to the playing of the instrument. But when I saw MO live John was so bloody loud it just made the band sound like mush.

It always seemed odd to me he wore white and was into all this "purity" of thought and all in his religion, and his guitar sound was so distorted and raw and deafeningly loud. Seemed a total oxymoron. 

The guitarist I record with really admires Allan Holdsworth. Thinks he is one of the best who ever picked up the instrument, though he also says if you have heard him once, you've heard him. He's been doing the same stuff for decades. Same sound (which definitely IS his sound), same licks, same technique. It's funny because as much as Tom admires John McLaughlin's technique, he also thinks his tone is awful.

Just the way sound hits each of us.

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27 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:44 am

Warning personal opinions being expressed;
Anyone who knows me knows John is my all time absolute favorite guitarist. I feel like he is the most important guitarist since Django. by fusing Indian music with Django . i love his tone most of the time but it's what he says musically and how he says it that makes him so unique. By saying they are playing fast scales misses the point. They are not just running scales they are playing much more sophisticated things. Few guitarists that come to  mind  to the kind of originality and ability. jimi, allan, Jeff beck. Not that metal shredders aren't unique in their own right.
later gators

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28 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:02 pm

By saying they are playing fast scales misses the point. They are not just running scales they are playing much more sophisticated things.

Agreed.


Anyone who knows me knows John is my all time absolute favorite guitarist. I feel like he is the most important guitarist since Django. by fusing Indian music with Django.

My question here is, is it because of John's technical and artistic
abilities or rather the fact that he has involved himself in the
ethnic genre of music which I know you love?  I ask this because
I cannot say how ethnically authentic John's role is in this area.

I do know that true ethnic patterns are based on specifics that
goes beyond implication and mere feel.  I play with several Latin
(implied) bands on occasion.  Yet, I know that my contribution is
not genuinely Latin.

Dave Weckl is really into Latin grooves but I know that the things
he plays are not authentic Afro-Cuban patterns.  I'm not saying
this is the case with John as I really don't know.

Asaph,

I have a friend who saw them in Santa Barbara Ca. back in 71-72.
and he said the same thing, that the thing he remembers most
about them is that they were over the top loud!

I find it interesting what you say about Billy's contribution to the band.
I first saw them in 72-73 on a tv show called "Don Kirshner's rock concert."
I wasn't into to that type of music AT ALL back then, I didn't even know who
Billy Cobham was. Yet, found myself glued to the television.  The next day
when My friends and I were all hanging out at the park (back then there was
no internet or video games and people actually fellow-shipped face to face),
everybody was talking about the outrageous drummer with the tennis shoes.

Not John, Jan, Jerry or Rick, but Billy Cobham.

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29 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:19 pm

I remember being so filled with electricity waiting for Rock Concert to come on that night I drove my parents nuts. I was all ready with my portable cassette recorder and when the band was announced I hit the button, and hit the button, and hit the button and the thing would not work. I was so ticked off I threw the thing down the basement stairs. My parents really thought I went off the deep end. I can never forget that drum solo. It was an epiphany for me.

Was it Resolution they closed with? I forget the name of the piece, but as it just kept climbing higher and higher it was like nothing I ever heard in rock music before. I was transformed. Rock music, per se, fell by the wayside and fusion just took command. It pretty much stayed that way. Nothing else has come along that can match 70s fusion for it's energy, power, creativity, and sheer fun.

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30 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:46 am


My question here is, is it because of John's technical and artisticabilities or rather the fact that he has involved himself in the ethnic genre of music which I know you love?  I ask this because I cannot say how ethnically authentic John's role is in this area.

 he studied veena not sure which style as there are different types of veena a stringed instrument in both north Hindustani and south Carnatic traditions. i think it was south Indian style.when he got shakti together he studied the traditions of both major schools as much as he could and it is very apparent in the music of shakti he knew quite a bit and was actually good as well as innovative with it by mixing in jazz. He still just gets better and better with that stuff as his concerts were amazing. he surrounded himself with the greatest musicians and learned from them maybe something he learned from miles. But he could more than just hang he could lead to new frontiers. A master musician through sheer dedication.  he's no faker. When i heard the M.O. I didn't know all that much about Indian music but he certainly pointed me toward more of it.



I do know that true ethnic patterns are based on specifics that
goes beyond implication and mere feel.  I play with several Latin
(implied) bands on occasion.  Yet, I know that my contribution is
not genuinely Latin.

i don't know if you can imply and have the feel you can get some things going. Sure it's a lifetime of study but there are fairly simple patterns to know to hold it together for the other players to gel and imply a sound and feel. of course you can go deeper and deeper, Also traditions change and evolve with time. It just depends what you intend on doing with it. if you want to play some sacred tribal music that doesn't belong to you or just have a rocking social dance party? who's to say what is more authentic. Do the people feel it and want to dance and forget their suffering for a bit or are we having a circumcision ritual? with real time suffering ;)these are actual questions we look at as a professional. what rhythm and melody for the setting. For one thing how did African rhythms via Cuba come to be called Latin? because they now speak Spanish? It is music from Africa straight up! with some western influences. so what gives? what's authentic about calling it Latin? so it's a can of worms once we start really investigating. Stuff changes with time. there's room for it. Anyway john mclaughlin rocks! that's all i  know. 2 other guitarists worth checking out paco delucia and pierre bensusan

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31 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:47 pm

Sorry it took so long to get back but I'm just now reading your reply.
I don't feel the need to get that deep personally.  I know and understand
that there are certain things, done a certain way that makes a certain
thing what it is.  I have a small library of Cuban and Afro-Cuban drumming
concepts as they are applied to both hand percussion instruments and the
trap set and I can surely understand the differences in the authentic and
the generic approach.  Whether people dance, have fun and forget about
their problems for awhile  is neither here or there as far as the point I'm
trying to make here.  All that stuff is just icing on the cake which is always
the case in such situations.

I'm talking about the ABSOLUTES that work.  The subjectives!  Those non
variables that set the standard and the rules. 

The purposeful, intended application of rhythm as discussed here is an entirely
different and stand alone subjective matter in itself.

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32 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:15 pm

D. Slam wrote:
 
I'm talking about the ABSOLUTES that work.  The subjectives!  Those non
variables that set the standard and the rules. 

say you are playing a tune and it's drum groove is based on reverse clave. as long as that is present there are many ways to approach it. in music, lines get crossed and blurred. A jazz musician's idea of samba is probably not a Brazilian mestre's vision.  And you can go to the next village over and they have different rules and what you think is right is wrong to them. One may place the emphasis on the downbeats of a samba. the other on the 2&4. In time people may have heard the emphasis on the 1 and they think it's the absolute way but in reality it was changed from the original feel. And there are many types and whole schools of samba.  it's regional and played differently. I got to go to a maracatu class with a brilliant drummer who is creating his own school of maracatu, changing and developing new sticking patterns. guaguanco clave got changed in the 60's in central park. So one person's truth is not always another's. It's not like there is always one law of the land in music. Westernized watered down versions often become the standard.  there is a rhythm called sunu and it's played in oakland near where you live and some people call it oakland sunu because it's got a different feel and not the way other people know it. it works for them though. and there are many types of sunu from different regions of mali.  It keeps developing and changing in multiple directions. it's mutable not absolute.  charlie parker set the standard for alto sax. but not everybody agrees with what he played as the definition of jazz. Some would rather stick with the old school new orleans dixieland as the standard and see him as blasphemous. The rules are subject to change they are not like biblical laws. especially when jazz is concerned.

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33 Re: New John McLaughlin interview on Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:29 am

I hear much of what you're saying, Kenny and I agree
for the most part. I'm just saying that there are some
definites that make these what they are. They don't
have to be complicated but there are distinctions.

When someone does a jazz pattern, you can recognize
it as such... Latin or whatever. Of course I'm aware
that not every village will speak the same musical language
just as I know for a fact that New Orleans funk will have a
noticeably different feel and flavor than the concept of
funk from other parts of the country. Yet there are rules and
absolutes that make it funk.

Though funk is more a musical 'feel' generally speaking
there are still actual patterns that are played that are
identified as such. And I know that the ethnic drumming
concepts have like basic rudimentary patterns that other
concepts are based and developed upon.

Bending the rules is the fun part. But you have to know what
the rules are. My Knowledge of the ethnic side of drumming is
nowhere near yours, therefore your developmental concept
level will go much further than mine in that regard.

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