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      One of fusion's most virtuosic guitar soloists, John McLaughlin placed his blazing speed in the service of a searching spiritual passion that has kept his music evolving and open to new influences. Whether shredding on electric, or simmering quietly on acoustic, McLaughlin's intensity and... read more

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      One of fusion's most virtuosic guitar soloists, John McLaughlin placed his blazing speed in the service of a searching spiritual passion that has kept his music evolving and open to new influences. Whether shredding on electric, or simmering quietly on acoustic, McLaughlin's intensity and under-appreciated versatility nearly always kept his playing vital, and his best moments -- whether as a solo artist or bandmember -- represent some of fusion's greatest recordings. McLaughlin was born January 4, 1942, in Yorkshire, England, and began playing guitar at age 11. Initially attracted to blues and swing, he worked with British artists like Georgie Fame, Graham Bond, Brian Auger, and Ginger Baker. McLaughlin formed his own band in 1968, and recorded the excellent debut Extrapolation in early 1969. Later that year, he moved to New York to join Tony Williams' groundbreaking fusion band Lifetime, and appeared on the classic Emergency! Through Williams, McLaughlin was invited to join Miles Davis' band, and became an important part of fusion landmarks like In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and A Tribute to Jack Johnson. In 1970, wanting to explore acoustic and Eastern music, McLaughlin recorded the classic My Goal's Beyond; he soon left Davis, and after one further solo album, Devotion, McLaughlin spent some time woodshedding. He re-emerged in 1971 as leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a seminal band that did much to define and popularize early jazz-rock fusion. Pausing to record Love, Devotion and Surrender with Carlos Santana in 1972, McLaughlin led Mahavishnu until 1975. Returning to spiritual preoccupations on My Goal's Beyond, he then formed Shakti, which fused acoustic jazz with Indian music over the course of three albums. McLaughlin returned to his solo career in the late '70s, forming a backing outfit called the One Truth Band, and also recording the guitar-trio albums Friday Night in San Francisco and Passion, Grace and Fire with fellow fusion burners Al DiMeola and Paco DeLucia. As the '80s went along, McLaughlin experimented with classical/jazz-hybrid composing; there was also a short-lived Mahavishnu reunion in the mid-'80s. McLaughlin has continued to record steadily in both electric and acoustic settings.

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