John McLaughlin: Hope




John McLaughlin (guitar)


Where Fortune Smiles (One Way Records OW 29312)

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John McLaughlin (guitar), John Surman (sax), Karl Berger (vibes), Dave Holland (bass), Stu Martin (drums).

Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: New York, May 1970


Rating: 80/100 (learn more)

Where Fortune Smiles was not originally designed as a John McLaughlin release. The record came out under his name for commercial reasons as his star was rising. Yet it is really a group effort, as all five musicians contribute equally to this free-jazz album. The tunes, written by Surman or McLaughlin, have very strong head arrangements. But once these melodies are established, they are quickly replaced, for the most part with a bleating cacophony interrupted by some impressive guitar and sax solos. You hear the early McLaughlin here. The melody of "Hope" is actually a combination of several licks that would soon become Mahavishnu Orchestra pieces. Strangely, McLaughlin would compose another version of "Hope" for Birds of Fire that did not sound anything like this melody. In fact, the dominant introductory notes to "Hope" we hear on Where Fortune Smiles would eventually be used for Mahavishnu's "One Word." This music isn't for everybody. It is best listened to, perhaps only once, to get a reference point on McLaughlin and, to a lesser degree, the talented Surman. From a historical viewpoint, the album is quite interesting. But purely as music, maybe less so.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Related Links

In Conversation with John McLaughlin by Walter Kolosky
The Dozens: John McLaughlin on Standards by Walter Kolosky

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