John McLaughlin: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat


Goodbye Pork Pie Hat


John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar)


My Goal's Beyond (Ryko RCD 10051)

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John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar).

Composed by Charles Mingus


Recorded: New York, 1970


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

Mention Charlie Mingus's tribute to Lester Young these days and most people will associate it with Jeff Beck's electric version on his album Wired. That performance was good enough, but did not really please Charlie. He wanted it played with the jazz changes he had written. John McLaughlin played those changes. He also played the tune on a steel-stringed acoustic guitar. Fans familiar only with his jarring electric work from this period were stunned and then quickly enchanted by just how beautiful distortion-master McLaughlin could make an acoustic guitar sound. His exacting jazz chords, clean fleet-fingered runs snapped off like dry branches, and subtle harmonic nuances showed a mastery of the guitar that wasn't known at that time. McLaughlin's emotive performance of "Pork Pie" betrayed a player who, despite his growing fame in the rock world, was really carrying on a tradition.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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