Mahavishnu: Florianapolis






Adventures in Radioland (Relativity 88561-8081-6)

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John McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synthesizer),

Bill Evans (sax), Mitchel Forman (keyboards), Jonas Hellborg (bass), Danny Gottlieb (drums)


Composed by John McLaughlin & Mitchel Forman


Recorded: Milan, Italy, January 1986


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

What a fun tune! "Florianapolis," written by John McLaughlin and the brilliant pianist and composer Mitchel Forman, is a happy-go-lucky Gypsy jazz-rock jaunt. McLaughlin goes acoustic for this piece. That alone was a welcome respite from the guitar synthesizer that dominated his music at the time. McLaughlin never ceases to amaze. He sounds like Django on an out-of-control treadmill. But he is always melodic, always in sync. Bill Evans (sax) adds his 12 above the textured layers of Danny Gottlieb's percussion, bassist Hellborg's throbs and Forman's keyboard work. McLaughlin's display of technique reaches its apex during the song's middle section. Seemingly playing his axe as if unwinding a taut spring, his notes flutter off with such rapidity it will have your head spinning. The tune ends with a great trombone solo. "Trombone? But there is no trombone!" It is probably John McLaughlin on his synth again. The phrasing seems to hint that McLaughlin is the culprit. But it could very well be Mitchel Forman playing on his own keyboard synthesizer. That's the crux of the problem during this time when McLaughlin was using the Synclaviar guitar. You couldn't always tell when he was playing because he didn't sound like a guitar. So even though that trombone sound was great, I subtracted 3 points from the rating for the subterfuge.

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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