John McLaughlin / John McLaughlin Trio

Live at the Royal Festival Hall

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The Mahavishnu revival misadventure now over and done with, John McLaughlin fields a quieter, stripped-down trio in London's Royal Festival Hall and gets far more pleasingly musical results. Engaging in interplay at all kinds of tempos with bassist Kai Eckhardt and supported by the fleet, subtle drums and percussion of Trilok Gurtu, McLaughlin concentrates his energies on the acoustic guitar. Now and then, he flips a switch and plays through a guitar synthesizer whose broad attacks and occasional organ-like timbres often compensate nicely for the lack of a keyboardist. This trio encourages McLaughlin to display a funkier touch on his instrument without giving up any blinding speed; "Pasha's Love" contains unison flurries as furious as any from the first Mahavishnu group, only at a lower volume level. The final "Blues for L.W." (Lech Walesa) climaxes with some vocal Indian syllabic jamming that joyously rounds out the concert.

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