John McLaughlin: Binky's Dream (Binky's Beam)


Binky's Dream (Binky's Beam)


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, January 1969


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

The Internet is a wonderful thing. You can find pretty much anything you want on it. Today I did a Google search on the John McLaughlin composition "Binky's Dream." I received 1,210 hits. Then for the fun of it I did a search on his composition "Binky's Beam," which is the real name of this cut, and received only 657 hits. The Internet propagates everything, especially mistakes. Why this mistake? When released on CD, the song was misnamed "Binky's Dream" on the outside cover. The inside liner notes had it correctly as "Binky's Beam."

Extrapolation was John McLaughlin's first album as leader. To this day many consider it to be among the finest jazz recordings ever to come out of England. This is jazz with attitude. McLaughlin leads a wonderful quartet. Bassist Brian Odgers (misspelled Odges on the same album cover that misnamed the song) was a last-minute replacement for Dave Holland, who had been summoned to New York by Miles Davis. Tony Oxley shows great dexterity. Saxophonist Surman's performance is so good that he could almost be called the co-leader of the gig.

"Binky's Beam" is an ultra-slow ballad that turns into a bit of a syncopated bouncy blues sideways jaunt. McLaughlin snaps off clean blues notes like he was using garden shears. He eschews feedback or distortion in favor of a more traditional jazz guitar sound. During his solo, he and Odgers play counterpoint as Oxley does some good brush work. Surman's sound on this cut, and the whole recording, is full of low-register attitude. He and McLaughlin are simpatico. While the beginning of this tune may put you in deep contemplation, by the end you will find yourself not giving a damn.

Reviewer's Fun Historical Fact: Several years later, McLaughlin sped this tune up 20 or 30 times as the basis for the Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters." Members of the Mahavishnu Orchestra referred to "CTC" as "Binky's" and never used its real name. "Dream," "Beam," "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters"… what is in a name anyway?

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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