Monday, February 2, 2009

DVD of the Month - "John McLaughlin: Meeting of the Minds"

DVD of the Day
John McLaughlin: "Meeting of the Minds" (Abstract Logix) 2008

Produced & Directed by Ina & John McLaughlin
Recorded & Videotaped at AM Studios, Chennai (India)

This is real 21st Century jazz! For the first time, an intimate view of what happens at a John McLaughlin recording session. Filmed over a period of five days, here's an inside look at the recording of McLaughlin's latest album, "Floating Point," one of the very few CDs (only five, actually) which received a 5-star rating in DownBeat in 2008. "A shared sense of exhilaration, intensity, joy and purpose emerged... This is a case of Indian musicians using their extraordinary skills to explore U.S. fusion, giving the guitarist an amazing platform for compositional/improvisational development," Ken Micallef wrote in the September 2008 issue of DownBeat.

McLaughlin's compositions come alive through meticulously planned studio setups and spontaneous moments. Through the interviews of all musicians, you will get to know how they approach John's works. In addition, there is an extra audio track with the
guitar wizard commenting on the entire recording. For "Floating Point," recorded in India, McLaughlin (the Englishman who currently lives in Monaco) used some of the best local musicians: keyboardist Louiz Banks ("I decided to become a jazz keyboardist after listening to Herbie Hancock," he tells to the camera), drummer Ranjit Barot, electric sitarist Niladri Kumar, flautists Shashank and Naveen Kumar, percussionist Anant Sivamani, vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, electric mandolinist U.Rajesh, and Hindustini slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya. Joining them were other Western stars, saxophonist George Brooks and bassist Hadrien Feraud, fusing elements of both the Shakti and Mahavishnu days.

"Now while the sessions feature predominantly Indian musicians, we are in quite another form compared to the group Shakti," McLaughlin says. "The music is for the most part jazz-fusion if a label has to be put on it. But with the musicians involved, it has also a world-music kind of atmosphere."

McLaughlin adds, "I really am happy with this project which actually came about quite spontaneously. You can hear in the music where I am in my development, and in which directions I'm moving. It was a real thrill to play with these players, and I offer my thanks to them for their unique contributions. I truly wish and hope that it brings something to the listeners. I also offer my deep thanks to them for their continued support to my dedicated work."

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