John McLaughlin: The Peacocks
John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar)
The Promise (Verve 314 529 828-2)
John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar),
Philippe Loli (acoustic guitar), Yan Maresz (acoustic bass guitar).
Composed by Jimmy Rowles.
Recorded: Monaco, 1995
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
The Promise runs the gamut from high-intensity fusion workouts to blues to ballads to flamenco-tinged acoustic forays and heartfelt tributes. Here John McLaughlin takes the same tack with Jimmy Rowles's piano ballad "The Peacocks" as he did on his tribute album Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans, treating a jazz composition as a classical piece. This version stays pretty close to the original in melodic approach, although McLaughlin's acoustic rendition naturally creates a lushness not heard in other versions. McLaughlin improvises, but it's less jazzy. While there are speedy runs incorporated within the framework of this slow-moving ballad, they are performed so sensitively you forget all about velocity. Yan Maresz and Philippe Loli do a fine job providing the bottom and backing chords. But like almost every other McLaughlin acoustic performance, it is his sheer virtuosity and taste that will linger in your ears.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky