John McLaughlin & Carlos Santana – Live In Chicago (1973)

FrontCover1Recorded after their collaboration, this recording has appeared under different facets (as have many of Santana’s records) sometimes as a single disc, some others as a double, covering the entire concert. The major difference in the line-up is that Billy Cobham holds the drum stool instead of Shrieve on the studio album.

As you’d expect, such an improvisational studio album could only give out an even more improvised and extended version of those songs. Indeed extended wailing soaring & searing guitar solos, extended drums and percussion duos, and many more indulgent musical traits are all part of this album. Particularly enjoyable is the Coltrane track Naima that gets a brilliant interpretation, but does indeed stray a little away from the original. All four tracks are very interesting but not fundamentally different that on the studio album.

In general the sound quality is acceptable, although I’ve heard some different quality in different versions, you can bet that some non-legit ones are most likely least likely to be proper-sounding. The opening minutes of Live Divine are not always well recorded because of the extreme dynamics of the band on stage. The Jazz-Door label (German) version (JD 1250) has a satisfactory sound and should please many fans. (by Sean Trane)

This is the edition from the legendary “Oh Boy” Label (Luxembourg/Europe)


Billy Cobham (drums)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Armando Peraza (percussion)
Doug Rauch (bass)
Carlos Santana (guitar)
Larry Young (keyboards)


01. Flame Sky (McLaughlin/Rauch/Santana) 16.02
02. Let’s Us Go Into The House Of The Lord (Smith/Sanders/Traditional) 26.02
03. The Life Divine (McLaughlin) 17.16
04. A Love Supreme (Coltrane) 19.02
05. Follow Your Heart (McLauglin) 26.50
06. Naima (Coltrane) 5.41




John McLaughlin + Shakti – The Believer (2000)

FrontCover1When Eastern classical musicians and Western jazz or pop musicians get together to jam, the result are always heartwarming; two wildly disparate traditions coming together to make music is such an irresistible gesture of human unity and cross-cultural cooperation. What’s not to love? Frankly, what’s not to love is often the music itself, which all too frequently is long on multicultural good intentions and short on things like coherence, interest, and hooks. The intermittently mystical jazz guitarist John McLaughlin, who has been nursing an India jones Shakti02for decades now, is hardly innocent of such offenses. But on The Believer, a live set featuring McLaughlin, electric mandolinist U. Shrinivas, kanjira and ghatam player V. Slevaganesh, and legendary tabla player Zakir Hussain, he delivers a gloriously tight, rhythmically thrilling program of original compositions (as well as one contribution each from Shrinivas and Hussain). The group is called Remember Shakti in reference to Shakti, the similarly configured band that McLaughlin co-led in the mid-’70s. If anything, his playing has grown more exciting than it was then; listening to him negotiate the thorny rhythmic changes of this music in unison with Shrinivas and to both of them bouncing off the complexly woven rhythmic patterns laid out by Hussain and Slevaganesh is not only impressive, but uplifting as well. Highlights include the downright funky “Anna” and Shrinivas’ composition “Maya.” Very highly recommended. (by Rick Anderson)

Recorded live during the European Tour, 1999

Zakir Hussain (tabla)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Vikku Selvaganesh (ghatam)
U. Shrinivas (mandolin)

01. 5 In The Morning, 6 In The Afternoon (McLaughlin) 18.13
02. Ma No Pa (Hussain) 14.56
03. Lotus Feet (McLaughlin) 7.07
04. Maya (Srinivas) 13.39
05. Anna (McLaughlin) 10.36
06. Finding The Way (McLaughlin) 12.40