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Friday, January 05, 2007

Free Spirits Friday

British guitarist John McLaughlin turned 65 yesterday. He's renowned for his tenures with Tony Williams's Lifetime band and Miles Davis's group in the late '60s, not to mention the seminal Mahavishnu Orchestra from the '70s, but McLaughlin also shined in the '90s in his trio, Free Spirits.

Check out this video of the Free Spirits doing Carla Bley's "Sing Me Softly of the Blues." McLaughlin's tone is especially plaintive but his solo has plenty of fleet-fingered fire as well. Organist Joey DeFrancesco's playing here bridges the traditional and modern: his accompaniment has that natural, deep blues feeling, and his improvisations have some clear links to McLaughlin's own licks. Clean, crisp and funky Dennis Chambers ably assists on drums.

You can find a good version of this tune on his excellent 1995 album After the Rain with Joey D. and Elvin Jones.


  • At 1/06/2007 8:55 AM, Blogger Cris said…

    Happy New Year Kellen,

    Speaking of McLaughlin, one of his odder credits is probably the acting credit for ''Round Midnight,' which I just watched again the other night to check out how much of a role Bobby Hutcherson has (I'd forgotten), before I sit down to write an advance about Hutcherson coming into Orange County this December (with Joey D's trio, to complete the triangle). McLaughlin is pretty much confined to bandstand stuff, but Hutcherson has a surprising amount of dialogue. (He's Dale's rice-and-beans-pushing apartment neighbor in Paris.) It would be fun to ask people for their favorite films with jazzers as actors. The other notable – without much acting requirements, though – is Kansas City. Thanks for all your blogs. -- ctg


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