John McLaughlin – Meeting Of The Minds (DVD)
During the recording of John McLaughlin’s Floating Point CD, cameras were rolling and capturing the moment on film. The end result is the making of DVD, Meeting Of The Minds . This DVD documents five days at AM Studios in Chennai, India and offers an amazing “behind the scenes” look at the sessions. Each day is indexed into a separate chapter and details the creative and collaborative process involved in bringing John’s musical ideas to fruition.
The songs feature different guest soloists, and interviews with the musicians give you some idea as to how they approach playing western harmony. I was struck at how the Indian musicians thought of chord progressions as (simplified explanation) individual ragas with the tonic note changing a lot. These great improvisers had to change their concepts in order to play John’s music, and I was very fascinated by that.
This is a nicely produced DVD. The camera shots are intimate and show not only the spontaneity of the sessions, but also how loose they were as well. You have a good time watching the musicians have a good time.
Of course, John is the main attraction, and watching him do his thing in the studio is just incredible. Seeing him sing konnokol rhythms to the musicians is worth the price of admission. Watching him interact and perform is icing on an already rich cake. As a bonus feature, there is an audio commentary track by John.
While it is a companion piece to the Floating Point CD, the DVD presents the songs in their original track versions without Hadrien Feraud’s bass playing, which was dubbed later. Though they share a majority of the same takes, the DVD versions have a rawer, more open feel to them with no bass.
My only complaints are that I wish the DVD were two hours longer, the track Abbaji was included, and a longer on-camera interview with John was done. (These are not real complaints, merely the raving of a McLaughlin fanatic)
Meeting Of The Minds is GREAT! Seeing how John creates and arranges the music, directs the sessions, and plays in the studio makes this a DVD that every McLaughlin fan (and music fan) must own.
I look at this DVD from beginning to end every time I play it.
You will too.