Do you remember the first time you listened to John McLaughlin? My Uncle was into a lot of drugs at the time and put on Extrapolation for the all of us to enjoy over Swiss Chalet and some cheap red wine he picked up for the adults. My siblings were not paying attention but something about his guitar playing in “Binky’s Beam” made me turn around and listen quite attentively.
If you were subjected to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Dvorak, and Donna Summer as I was during this period — John McLaughlin was definitely something new.
McLaughlin played a lot with Miles and his touch can be heard on so many jazz recordings.
The Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG have announced the next installment in The Montreux Years Series with “John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years”, to be released on Friday, March 4, 2022. Curated and compiled by John McLaughlin, the album is a collection of his finest performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival between 1978 and 2016.
Beautifully restored and mastered, the recording will be available in multi-format configurations, including superior audiophile heavy weight vinyl, CD and on streaming services, in superlative HD audio.
Ranked in Rolling Stones magazine’s list of ‘100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time’, John McLaughlin became a long-time friend of the Montreux Jazz Festival, having played at the iconic Swiss festival many times.
The performances in this new collection are curated from six shows between 1978 to 2016 with the various ensembles of ‘The Mahavishnu Orchestra’, ‘The Heart Of Things’, ‘The Free Spirits’, ‘The 4th Dimension’ and his fellow virtuoso and close friend Paco de Lucia.
Encapsulating McLaughlin’s time at the festival, “John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years” opens with the 1984 track Radio Activity by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, which McLaughlin reformed in the 80’s for the release of the album “Mahavishnu”.
Fans of the jazz fusion pioneer can immerse themselves in the superb and classic material that defined McLaughlin’scareer, which includes the track Acid Jazz from the album “The Heart of Things”.
Further exploring McLaughlin’simpressive repertoire, “John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years” includes the tracks Sing Me Softly Of The Blues from 1994’s “After the Rain” and El Hombre Que Sabia from McLaughlin’s studio album “Black Light”.
John McLaughlin: “To speak about The Montreux Jazz Festival brings back so many wonderful memories. But since my association goes back to 1971, we are looking at 50 years of history!
Whether it’s the different incarnations of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, The One Truth Band, The Free Spirits, The Heart of Things, Carlos Santana or with the late great Paco de Lucia, the list goes on and on. Not only all my musical performances at Montreux, but all my other visits to see my dear friend Claude Nobs the founder, my friends of the festival, join jam sessions, go hiking in the fabulous countryside around that lovely town. Montreux is a big part of my life’s musical and personal history and to share this selection of my performances on this recording makes me truly happy.”
As one of the greatest guitar players in music history, John McLaughlin has been cited a major influence on many 70’s and 80’s artists, including the likes of Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Mike Stern and more. In 2018 McLaughlin won a Grammy for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for his solo on Miles Beyond from his album “Live at Ronnie Scott’s”.
With a German tour scheduled for March 2022, McLaughlin remains one of music’s greatest musicians and the release “John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years” is a testament to his legacy.
Launched in 2021, ‘The Montreux Years’ is the embodiment of the spirit of the Montreux Jazz Festival and the legacy of its much-loved founder, Claude Nobs. Nobs refused to compromise on quality or settle for anything other than the best and this ethos lives on in the superb quality of the recordings compiled in ‘The Montreux Years’.
Mastering has been performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of the special live performances. Like previous releases of the series “John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years”, will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes by McLaughlin himself and previously unseen photography.
Available on pre-order now and released on Friday 04 March, ‘John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years’ is the fifth instalment of The Montreux Years series, which began with musical titans Nina Simone and Etta James, followed by Marianne Faithfull and Muddy Waters.
Having received critical acclaim worldwide, ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’, debuted at #1 on the UK Official Jazz & Blues Chart in 2021 and was hailed by the likes of the New York Times and JazzFM Albums of the Year.
Pre-order now on Amazon (Available March 4, 2022).