Exposé Online banner

John McLaughlin — John McLaughlin Montreux Concerts
(Warner Bros 50-50466-9701-21, 1999/2003, 17CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-03-01

John McLaughlin Montreux Concerts Cover art

[This review covers the Shakti concerts on discs 3-4 — July 6, 1976.]

For my tastes, most of the McLaughlin Montreux box tends to range outside of my interest area, mostly spending a lot of time with the man's more modern line ups, but while it managed to not capture the very earliest Mahavishnu Orchestra line up (only Mk II here), McLaughlin had become something of a mainstay by the time the great Shakti rolled around. The three studio Shakti albums only hint at what a monster band this quartet was live, before this set you might have been lucky to grab the limited BBC in Concert LP or lucked upon their short video from Pori, Finland, but with this set you get to hear two shows (not counting the later Remember Shakti) in excellent sound quality. And this 1976 is the best of them. The level of musicianship here is telepathically high and everyone was a virtuoso and where, arguably, the first Mahavishnu had crumbled under the weight of its egos by the 1972 tour, with Shakti it just spurred everyone to greater and greater heights with the chemistry just going off the charts. The tracks here are all incredibly long as well, with “Joy,” “India,” and “Nata” all adding up to well over 70 minutes before finishing with the short coda "Kriti." This was a far different approach from their albums, allowing the band to be in the moment, create spontaneously, and shine with a huge heart. Honestly I wish there were certain Montreux sets on this box and the Miles Davis box that would get their own releases and this would definitely be one of them.


Filed under: Archives, 2003 releases, 1999 recordings

Related artist(s): Zakir Hussein, John McLaughlin, L. Shankar, Shakti / Remember Shakti

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ukab Maerd - The Waiting Room – Spelled backwards it's Dream Baku, a shaded reference to Djam Karet's A Night for Baku CD from about eight years ago. This is an improvisational project featuring founding DK members Chuck Oken and...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues