John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin – on bass players beyond the first Mahavishnu Orchestra line-ups


Throughout the 1970s and thereafter John McLaughlin has recruited various very strong bass players in his different line-ups. Jack Bruce, ex. Graham Bond, ex-Cream, ex-Tony Williams Lifetime had a central role in McLaughlin ´s late 1970s period. They performed John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”, as well as Jack Bruce’s “Rope Ladder to the Moon” – from the Cream era.

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin

Later on Jonas Hellborg and Kai Eckhardt joined – both in the duo and trio format, with Trilok Gurtu on percussion. Mr. Hellborg also was an integral part of the re-vamped Mahavishnu Orchestra, featuring, Mitch Foreman (keyboards), Bill Evans (saxophones) and Danny Gottlieb (drums).

“The Free Spirits”, of course, had Joey de Francesco on Hammond B3 organ and Mr. Dennis Chambers on drums, so the bass part was played via keyboards and pedals. This band made various appearances with Mr. Chambers and with Mr. Elvis Jones. The set list even included “My Favorite Things” from the most extensive John Coltrane Quartet catalogue.

During the time span of “The Heart of Things”, Matthew Garrison, son of Jimmy Garrison from the John Coltrane Quartet laid a solid foundation, with his bass playing, in this setting, which has resulted in only two recordings being released so far.

“The 4th Dimension” has been documented previously.

“The Five Peace Band”, although during its limited time span proved that Mr. Christian McBride, is a very complete and innovative bass player – both in the acoustic and the electric setting.

This very much sums up that John McLaughlin’s choice of sidemen, as always, is very varied and challenging.

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