Mahavishnu: Mitch Match
Adventures in Radioland (Relativity 88561-8081-6)
John McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synthesizer),
Bill Evans (sax), Mitchel Forman (keyboards), Jonas Hellborg (bass), Danny Gottlieb (drums).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: Milan, Italy, January 1986
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
John McLaughlin's use of the Synclavier guitar synthesizer in the '80s could be quite frustrating for many listeners. On record or CD, many times you could not tell whether some of the music was coming from McLaughlin, saxophonist Bill Evans or keyboardist Mitch Forman. It wasn't until I saw Mahavishnu perform "Mitch Match" in concert that I realized all of the music that sounded like those mouth whistles that have the plungers you can push in and pull out was coming from his contraption. It was fascinating to see and hear him play the music on synthesizer in person. Inversely, not all of the synthesizer turns worked on record. But on "Mitch Match" it did work. It is a short, upbeat fun number that finds McLaughlin noodling with that mouth whistle sound. Back and forth it goes. The pitch and velocity of the notes change. It almost sounds like someone trying to turn over the weak battery on a very tiny car. Evans and Forman join in on the rollicking melody. The solo section finds McLaughlin exploring more of the sonic possibilities of the sounds he has discovered. A declarative fast-tempo blues kicks in with the extraordinary Forman playing the B-3 part. Or was it McLaughlin on synth? If I could only remember this part from the show…
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky