John McLaughlin: Shin Jin Rui
Shin Jin Rui
John McLaughlin (guitar)
The Promise (Verve 314 529 828-2)
Jim Beard (keyboards), James Genus (bass guitar), Don Alias (percussion).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: New York, 1995
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
John McLaughlin and saxophonist David Sanborn have known each other for many years. Three decades ago, Sanborn appeared as special guest on two of McLaughlin's albums, Electric Guitarist and Electric Dreams, and has jammed with him on stage. In 1995 McLaughlin invited Sanborn back into the studio for this performance. As best I can determine, "Shin Jin Rui" is the Japanese equivalent of "Generation X." Why McLaughlin would refer to it is beyond me. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning in Japanese or Zen culture.
The tune begins with the sounds of a babbling brook and singing birds. McLaughlin and Sanborn play the somewhat dark and mournful intro in unison. They know how to mesh. The other musicians provide a cautious subterranean mood for reinforcement. The tune begins in earnest. It is a more hopeful blues shuffle with a touch of funk. Sanborn solos first. He can play the pop stuff, straight-ahead jazz, and hang in there with the best of them on fusion pieces. After a percussive section featuring the superb duo of Chambers and Alias, McLaughlin enters. It is a good solo that would have been better without the ring- modulator. But he gets the point across as even Sanborn begins to play with distortion in the calls and responses that bring us to the end. You can't go wrong listening to music made by McLaughlin, Sanborn and band. It may not be easy to discover what "Shin Jin Rui" means. But it is easy to define this music as good.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky