John McLaughlin: Really You Know


Really You Know


John McLaughlin (guitar)


Extrapolation (Polydor 841 598-2)

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John McLaughlin (guitar),

John Surman (sax), Brian Odgers (bass), Tony Oxley (drums)


Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: London, England, January 1969


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings says that Extrapolation, to which they give their "Crown" rating, was the most important jazz album ever recorded in Europe. That's open to some argument. But the fact that a bop record featuring a future electric fusion god is even in the conversation is remarkable in the first place.

Despite instrument shuffling and great thematic changes, Extrapolation was presented as one continuous performance. The introduction of "Really You Know" is a demonstration of the empathetic intricacies of a jazz guitar and upright bass duo. McLaughlin and bassist Brian Odgers (often misidentified as "Odges") show true simpatico. The ear could hear that this guitar player was different. He was playing jazz, but using a different vocabulary of jangly chords, snapping notes and changing time signatures that took a bit of getting used to. Drummer Oxley and saxophonist John Surman join the sad ballad's presentation to enrich its purpose even more fully. Surman was one of England's greatest jazz horn players. The album as a whole is just as much a showcase for his brilliance as for McLaughlin's. Tunes like "Really You Know," "Arjen's Bag" and others still possess a vital freshness four decades later.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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