The Promise

The Promise

by John McLaughlinJohn McLaughlin


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Originally issued in 1996 when he was 54, The Promise offers a summation of all the places John McLaughlin has been in his career, and points directly toward his future. Featuring a wide range of musicians including appearances by the Free Spirits, the Guitar Trio, and an electric version of Shakti, the Promise is easily the most wide-ranging and diverse offering of McLaughlin's long career. Its contents encompass everything from straight post-bop and swinging soul-jazz to fusion to modern takes on East Indian music as it meets the West. As if this weren't enough, there are even moments with spoken word laced throughout, such as a verse of Dante read by Stefania Bombi toward the end of his scorching, funky, soul-jazz number "Thelonius Melodius" with B-3 organist Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Dennis Chambers. The set kicks off with one of its finest moments, a guitar-to-guitar reading of John Lewis' "Django" with Jeff Beck (bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Mark Mondesir, and drummer Tony Hymas round it out). Beck's solo is first; it is expansive as it moves from a gorgeous restating of the melody through slinky harmonic extrapolations. McLaughlin's answer is ambitious and intuitive. They then move toward one another and the melody, complementing each other perfectly. "El Ciego" is a complex, flamenco-tinged jazz number with McLaughlin trading knotty lines and soulful solos with Al di Meola and Paco de Lucia. "Jazz Jungle" is late 20th century fusion at its blazing best with Michael Brecker, Chambers, Don Alias, James Genus, and Jim Beard beginning almost nebulously before ratcheting the tempo and idea palettes to dizzying heights (Brecker is particularly brilliant). "The Wish," with Zakir Hussein, Nishat Khan, and Trilok Gurtu, looks deeply into Indian classical music balanced by a European gaze. McLaughlin's engagement with Khan's sitar creates nearly rapturous expression, all the while contained inside a texture that is as atmospheric as it is exotic. "Shin Jin Rui" employs the same band as "Jazz Jungle," with the exception of the saxophone, played by David Sanborn. His playing is riskier than on his own records, his alto juxtaposed with McLaughlin's guitar, a study in funky, electric jazz modernism. The set closes with a lovely all-acoustic reading of Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" with guitarist Phillipe Loi and bassist Yan Maresz, and a verse by Lorca read by Susana Beatrix as an end cap. Ultimately, The Promise stands as one of McLaughlin's towering achievements as a guitarist and leader.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/06/1996
Label: Polygram Records
UPC: 0731452982827
catalogNumber: 529828
Rank: 83615

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John McLaughlin   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,MIDI Guitar
Jeff Beck   Electric Guitar
Sting   Bass
Jim Beard   Keyboards
Michael Brecker   Tenor Saxophone
Paco de Lucía   Acoustic Guitar
Trilok Gurtu   Percussion
David Sanborn   Alto Saxophone
Nishat Khan   Sitar,Vocals
Don Alias   Percussion
Dennis Chambers   Drums
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Joey DeFrancesco   Trumpet,Hammond Organ
di Meola   Acoustic Guitar
James Genus   Bass Guitar
Zakir Hussain   Tabla
Tony Hymas   Keyboards
Mark Mondesir   Drums
Pino Palladino   Bass
Mariko Takahashi   Vocals
Yan Maresz   Bass Guitar,Acoustic Bass

Technical Credits

John McLaughlin   Producer
Jean-Philippe Allard   Executive Producer
Rene Ameline   Engineer
Ken Jones   Engineer
Eddie Kramer   Producer,Engineer
Ed Rak   Engineer
Max Costa   Arranger,Engineer
Gustav Hobel   Engineer
Alberto Mayer   Cover Design
Maurice Ouazana   Engineer
Yan Maresz   Arranger

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