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Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Success is not all you wish for..., 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Bathed in Lightning: John Mclaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Paperback)
Success is not all you wish for and it lends a bitter-sweet overtone to this exhaustively researched biography. It was interesting seeing McLaughlin through the eyes of his contemporaries and observing his drive to find his own voice. The author has made a very wise decision to document his rise in this time frame, as it deals with one of the most interesting periods of English music from one of the most neglected points of view.
I certainly learnt a lot about the London session scene and the struggle that many jazz musicians had in this era. Read in combination with Jack Bruce's biography and that of Jon Hiseman gives a fascinating insight into the difficulties of trying to pursue your creative impulses. The interesting conclusion is that you cannot escape the demons that pursue you unless you are prepared to face up to them without recourse to drugs or spirituality. The dangers of pursuing you musical vision at the expense of understanding the human frailties of the people you work or live with is a common theme in the music industry. The sad fact is that when you dedicate yourself to mastering your art it becomes an all consuming passion and there are many things that get sacrificed along the way. The rigorous hours of practise and performance are not always conducive to relationships, personal or professional. McLaughlin found that not everyone shared his goals or his sense of self-discipline.
I do find it quite inspiring that McLaughlin has over the last decade been producing some of the most exciting and creative music of his career. Certainly the One Truth band is at least as intense as the first Mahavishnu Orchestra - well at least in my humble opinion. What this book shows is this musicians constant desire to drive forward and not look back. Which is one reason that he would not take part in the research process for "Bathed in Lightning" whilst giving the project his blessing.
I get the impression of a very complicated and driven personality who's life has been given over to the search for personal and musical perfection.
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