John McLaughlin: Guardian Angels
John McLaughlin and the One Truth Band
Electric Dreams (Columbia/Legacy CK 48892)
John McLaughlin (guitar),
L. Shankar (violin), Stu Goldberg (keyboards), Fernando Saunders (bass), Tony Smith (drums), Alyrio Lima (percussion).
Recorded: New York, November 1978
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
"Guardian Angels" is only 52 seconds long, but is important in the John McLaughlin chronology. It opens this album, ushering in the sound of his new group, The One Truth Band. The theme is one step short of sinister. It is played acoustically, as McLaughlin once again introduces a unique sideways arpeggio. However, once the arpeggio is dispensed with, McLaughlin and violinist L. Shankar engage in a tête-à-tête that features a sound somewhat reminiscent of McLaughlin's former band Shakti. This signaled that McLaughlin's new band, featuring L. Shankar on electric violin, would be nodding more overtly to Indian music than had been previously the case in electric fusion, including John's own Mahavishnu Orchestra. Other differences were to become obvious as the record played on. But out of the chute, you knew the direction was changing.
McLaughlin would later flesh out "Guardian Angels" and create a longer, fuller piece from it. It became a popular staple of the Guitar Trio featuring McLaughlin, Paco De Lucia and Al Di Meola, and would appear on the group's first record Friday Night in San Francisco, although for reasons unknown the "s" was dropped from the song title for that album.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky