John McLaughlin: New York on My Mind
New York on My Mind
John McLaughlin (electric guitar)
Johnny McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist (Columbia CK 46110)
Stu Goldberg (keyboards), Jerry Goodman (violin), Fernando Saunders (bass).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: New York, January 1978
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
This cut is the closest the original Mahavishnu Orchestra ever got to reconciliation. Five years after the band's acrimonious breakup, Billy Cobham and Jerry Goodman joined McLaughlin for "New York on My Mind." The title had real meaning for McLaughlin. He has often suggested that without NYC, there never would have been a Mahavishnu Orchestra. The city's true melting-pot nature and abundance of great musicians created the necessary atmosphere and gene pool for Mahavishnu to be born.
Sixty-percent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra does not make the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But "New York on My Mind" is a stirring example of the telepathy McLaughlin, Cobham and Goodman still shared. Keyboard wizard Goldberg also possessed that chemistry with McLaughlin. Bassist Saunders was no slouch either. "New York on My Mind" is a slow ballad punctuated by high-register bursts. After a few purposeful thuds from Cobham, McLaughlin and Goodman double-up on the melody. McLaughlin used a new guitar that featured a scalloped fretboard. Based on the design of the Indian instrument the vina, the scalloped board allowed him to pull down on the strings to produce the biggest bends in Western guitar history. (Please excuse the hyperbole. But your ears won't lie.) Goodman's sound had changed too. It was much cleaner than his distorted playing on the Mahavishnu recordings. The two new sounds, in simpatico, create the atmospherics. Goldberg, as always, offers wonderful keyboard playing.
I would suggest that the New York that McLaughlin had on his mind was the city at night. There is a slight dark undertone to the piece at times. "New York on My Mind" is a fully realized composition performed by stalwarts of the original fusion movement, and is worthy of its great players.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky