John McLaughlin

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About John McLaughlin

Whether as leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, as a sideman for Miles Davis, or as a solo artist, guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin did as much as anyone to forge the jazz-rock fusion template in the ’60s and ’70s. Born in Yorkshire in 1942, he learned guitar, piano, and violin as a youth and became fascinated with jazz. In the ’60s he played blues and R&B with the likes of Alexis Korner and Georgie Fame; however, his 1969 solo debut LP betrayed no real rock influences as it displayed his fiery, fleet-fingered style. After relocating to America, McLaughlin leaped into the fusion fray, working with The Tony Williams Lifetime and recording a string of classic albums with Miles Davis, including 1970’s jazz-rock game-changer Bitches Brew. In 1971, he formed the Mahavishnu Orchestra, releasing fusion milestones like The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire. That was followed by the classic duo LP Love Devotion Surrender with Carlos Santana, spotlighting the spirituality underneath McLaughlin’s stormy shredding. He subsequently explored other directions, including Indian music with the group Shakti. McLaughlin kept working into the 2020s, continuing to inspire new generations of musicians.

Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England
January 4, 1942
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