John McLaughlin: Friendship
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Fuse One: The Complete Recordings (MusicMasters CIJD 60150A)
John McLaughlin (guitar),
Joe Farrell (flute), Don Grusin (Fender Rhodes), Jeremy Wall (piano), Stanley Clarke (bass), Tony Williams (drums), Paulinho DaCosta (percussion), string section conducted by Jeremy Wall.
Composed by John McLaughlin; arranged by Jeremy Wall.
Recorded: New York, April 1980
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
In my review of "To Whom All Things Concern," I trace the history of Fuse One: The Complete Recordings. Reading it may be helpful in obtaining a fuller understanding of this review.
On John McLaughlin's 1978 Electric Guitarist, there is a cut called "Friendship" featuring guest artist Carlos Santana. That "Friendship," recorded in 1980, and this version are miles apart. In fact this "Friendship" includes parts of another wonderful McLaughlin composition, "Stardust On Your Sleeve," which would later appear on 1982's Belo Horizonte. I find it hard to believe that John forgot about his other song "Friendship." Maybe it was some contractual thing or something. You never know.
Fuse One's "Friendship" opens with an orchestral-type string section similar to something you might have heard on Mahavishnu's Apocalypse album. Joe Farrell's touching flute then states the theme at snail's paste. The melody's main thrust consists of five exquisite notes. McLaughlin plays acoustic guitar on the piece. He takes over for Farrell and proceeds in a slow and purposeful manner. Soon he lets loose with a typical McLaughlin run while drummer Tony Williams is chugging behind him. McLaughlin and Farrell trade off as the strings reemerge. The beautiful melody returns as Farrell and McLaughlin play out the string. The only disappointing aspect of the tune is that due to the concept of the album, both Stanley Clarke and Tony Williams are asked to do little more than keep time.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky