With a career spanning six decades, John McLaughlin is a stalwart fusion musician who has collaborated with maestros such as Zakir Hussain, Miles Davis and Paco de Lucia. McLaughlin is also credited with bringing Indian fusion music into mainstream world music. In 1975, he formed the band Shakti that changed the dimensions and boundaries of fusion music by beautifully and vigorously fusing jazz with Indian classical music.
McLaughlin’s new album Black Light, which came out in October, showcases the talents of his current band 4th Dimension. The release of the album has been followed by a worldwide tour.
He is slated to play in India in the first week of November and will be performing in Kolkata (3 November), Mumbai (6 November) and Bengaluru (7 November).
McLaughlin’s collaborations with some of the best artistes have left a deep impression on his music. This has made the ace guitarist one of the most versatile musicians in the world. One look at his discography reveals amazing eclectism, be it harmonising with the classically trained and gifted singer Shankar Mahadevan or complementing the insanely talented Miles Davis.
In Black Light, the virtuoso pays tribute to some of his favourite artistes and close friends. El Hombre Qe Sabia, which is Spanish for ‘The Man Who Knew’, is a track dedicated to flamenco guitar legend Paco de Lucia with whom McLaughlin was associated for over 40 years. The joyfully done opening track of the album, ‘Here come the Jiis’, is a homage to mandolin virtuoso U Srinivas.McLaughlin also pays tribute to the enigmatic sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who also happened to tutor him in a powerful track aptly named Panditji.
McLaughlin’s music has been essentially communicative and aimed at transcending cultural boundaries. He continues to reach out to the global gamut of musicians. Unpinnable to one specific genre, McLaughlin enjoys a wide audience base. Black Light is a labour of love born out of sheer talent fused with tremendous experience. Give it a listen.