John McLaughlin Trio Live at the Royal Festival Hall  

It had been five long years since McLaughlin had last put out a record when Polygram released Live at the Royal Festival Hall in 1990. The brilliant Percussionist Trilok Gurtu, of Oregon fame, joined him along with bassist Kai Eckhardt to form this exciting band which was to exist is some form or another, always changing bassists, for at least five years. The mostly acoustic music, augmented by bass and John's guitar synth, which fills this album is a mix of standard jazz, fusion and Indian influenced rhythms and melody lines. The rhythms do tend to overwhelm the compositions, but to a degree, it is what this particular band was about. The rhythmic structure of the trio is such that rhythm becomes as much a part of the composition as the melodic theme. This personality led to many exciting and fun musical excursions. This band was fun to listen to because its members were having fun.

A raucous crowd pays rapt attention from the opening moments of "Blue In Green" to the percussive volcano "Mother Tongues" to the swinging "Blues for L.W." (Just a note about "Blues for L(ech) W(alesa)". McLaughlin plays this tune too much in concert and should give it a rest. Great tune, but overplayed.). Several moments of Musical hilarity ensue during the course of the concert which make this a worthwhile recording even if you didn't dig the mix. The trio became stronger when Dominique DiPiazza would replace Eckhardt a year later - but, I wouldn't kick this recording out of bed.

Walter Kolosky

Walter Kolosky is a jazz fan and founder of who lives in Braintree, MA, USA


1. Blue in Green - (5:28) (M.Davis)
2. Just Ideas - (1:40) (M.Forman)

/ Jozy - (3:28) (J.McLaughlin)
3. Florianapolis - (14:35) (J.McLaughlin/M.Forman)
4. Pasha's Love - (7:16) (T.Gurtu)
5. Mother Tongues - (18:37) (J.McLaughlin)
6. Blues for L.W. - (8:25) (J.McLaughlin)

John McLaughlin - acoustic guitar,

Photon guitar synthesizer, voice
Kai Eckhardt-Karpeh - electric bass
Trilok Gurtu - percussion, voice

Digitally recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall,

London, on November 27th, 1989.
Produced by Stefan F. Winter.

Short RealAudio sample Florianapolis
Short RealAudio sample Pasha's Love
Short RealAudio sample Mother Tongues

  JMT 834 436 (p) 1990