The "Blindfold Test" is a listening test that challenges the featured
artist to identify the musicians who performed on selected recordings.
The artist is then asked to rate each tune using a 5-star system. No
information about the recordings is given to the artist prior to the
down beat, February 1996
BLINDFOLD TEST: HENRY KAISER
by Dan Ouellette
4. JOHN McLAUGHLIN. SONG FOR HELEN
from TIME REMEMBERED, Verve).
It's John McLaughlin doing Bill Evans, and it gets 5 stars. John
McLaughlin has gone so many places with the guitar before anybody else,
and he's been to so many places guitarists have yet to go. He's a
master, and here he is playing the music of one of his masters. And he
plays it with such love, depth and feeling. A person would have to have
something wrong with their soul to not be moved by this track. But why
does he use all that digital reverb?
down beat, August 1995
BLINDFOLD TEST: MARVIN "SMITTY" SMITH
by Zan Stewart
2. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN. JUJU AT THE CROSSROADS
from TOKYO LIVE, Verve).
Dennis, that's my man. And I really do like John. So their playing I
appreciate greatly. But as far as this group concept here, it misses
the mark for me. I got the feeling that John was selling himself short,
as if he were making an effort to sound like John Scofield's group. And
it probably doesn't help that feeling that Dennis is playing drums,
because he played with Scofield. It's just not a strong enough group
concept. It doesn't have enough projection and impact for me.
This music needs movement, harmonically, rhythmically, so it really
helps when you have a moving bass line, a linear aspect that is really
missing here. The musicianship is high here, but in terms of
performance, I have to give it 2 1/2.
down beat, September 1990, pg 52
BLINDFOLD TEST: SCOTT HENDERSON
by Josef Woodard
1. JOHN McLAUGHLIN AND MAHAVISHNU. JUST IDEAS/JOZY
(from ADVENTURES IN
That was John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I can't say
enough about him; he's the greatest. The tune was great, obviously
influenced by Weather Report - particularly the tune "Madagascar". Great
composition. John McLaughlin is playing his ass off, as always. I think
that's Bill Evans playing sax, and Mitchel Forman. I like the way the tune
built, really melodic and with great harmony. That's a 5-star tune, for
sure. John McLaughlin was one of the first guys I was influenced by.
Birds Of Fire is still one of my all-time favorite records. I look up
to him because he's such an overall great musician, not just as a soloist
but also as a composer and a legend.
down beat, Volume 48, No. 2, February 1981, pg 47
BLINDFOLD TEST: PAT METHENY
by Leonard Feather
4. JOHN McLAUGHLIN/CARLOS SANTANA. FRIENDSHIP
(from JOHNNY MCLAUGHLIN,
ELECTRIC GUITARIST, Columbia).
Sounds like Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin together, both of
whom l hold in high regard, for finding their own voices.
McLaughlin to me is the most important, certainly the most
influential voice in the last decade on the guitar, without a doubt. In
a way, he's been misrepresented by his imitators; so many people have
jumped on his bandwagon that we sometimes forget what an amazing
contribution he made. He really turned things around; there's hardly a
young player around that doesn't play like him. I find that a bit
distressing; l try to avoid it, as much as I love his playing. It's
almost a cliche, that real fast playing. But the missing element is his
incredible soulful feeling. It's more than the notes, more than he's the
fastest gun ... it's that he's an incredibly dynamic, strong personality
on his instrument; the same for Carlos Santana.
Again, he's one of the strongest voices around--you can tell it's
him in two notes. I admire both of them and I really like this
performance; it was so loose, and almost free-sounding. The beginning
reminded me of an Ornette Coleman thing, sort of approximate unison a
little out of tune. I'd give that five stars. That's some of the best
I've heard from either one of them.
down beat, May 1978
BLINDFOLD TEST: GEORGE BENSON
by Leonard Feather
6. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN AND THE MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. THE DANCE OF MAYA
(from 50 YEARS OF JAZZ GUITAR, Columbia).
I think you got me this time. There's only two cats I could think of
because I haven't heard this kind of thing in quite a while. There's Allan
Holdsworth who plays a few things in that idiom ... and there's another
guitar player - Hiram Bullock - who plays similar things.
I'm not really into that kind of thing, but it got very interesting at
the end when they cross-connected the melody. They had a line going at these
two difficult tempos. Nice. I mean, it was interest but not my kind of thing
because I'm not really into distortion. It's a two star situation.
down beat, May 1978
BLINDFOLD TEST: LENNY WHITE
by Lee Underwood
1. MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. HOPE
(from BIRDS OF FIRE, Columbia).
That's John McLaughlin, but I'm not sure whether that is the group
with Billy Cobham or with Michael Narada Walden.
That was only a small theme. I've always liked Mahavishnu. When he
first came out on the scene, he had something new. And when Billy Cobham
played with that group, it was really great. All those guys were great.
On this tune, which was in an odd-time signature, the drummer
basically played in and around the theme. A lot of times when guys play
odd-time signatures like this, they jerk. But this flowed well.
The sound on this cut was very full. It was probably more than Jerry
Goodman on violin there. They probably overdubbed several times. Whether
they did or not, it was hot.
I liked it and would like to have heard more. I'd give this one three
stars. For me, three is really good. Five has to be a classic.