John McLaughlin's Free Spirits
THE CHARLES BALROOM
SOURCE : NAK 300 > SONY D-6
Transferred mix and mastered by Steve H/AKA fzmoi69
From SONY TC-K707ES into Sound Forge Pro 10.0
NEED HELP WITH SET LIST PLEASE
Date: 3 Mar 1996 04:11:37 -0500
From: jchiarelli (email@example.com)
To: John McLaughlin mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Cambridge, MA show, 3/1
I caught the second Free Spirits show at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts on Friday night. I'm really bad with song titles so it's probably all the better that I didn't recognize one single tune out of the seven, including one encore, that they played. There were many quotes, though, including Miles Davis's Spanish Key (from Bitches Brew) and All Blues (from Kind of Blue) and a Monk tune -- Misterioso, I think.
All but one or two of the tunes were based on pretty standard blues progressions and the very first number seemed to be completely improvised with McLaughlin beginning with a guitar vamp and then nodding to Joey and Dennis respectively as they found the groove, one after the other.
The next-to-last tune in the set was a quiet guitar/organ duet with a samba-like rhythm. Chambers played two tremendous drum solos, both I'd say 5-7 minutes in length, DeFrancesco played his red trumpet twice both times starting out with the harmon mute, then removing it. During the second drum solo, Chambers and JMcL engaged in a kind of contest with Chambers trying to make McLaughlin lose the "one." It began with JMcL playing a very funky, rhythmically complicated guitar figure to Chambers's accompaniment. As Chambers started to solo over this guitar figure, he began to deconstruct the rhythm, adding more and more spaces and dense, complicated syncopation. He and JMcL locked eyes and McLaughlin grimaced and smiled and laughed as he struggled to keep his rhythm going as Chambers's solo moved further and further from it. In the end Chambers snapped right back into the original groove and neither man missed a beat. Absolutely great!
The encore was a quiet, bluesy T-Bone Walker-like shuffle, a trumpet/guitar duet with a 9th-chord guitar vamp similar to Hendrix's Still Rainin', Still Dreamin. At the end, with JMcL playing that Hendrix-like vamp under JDeF's trumpet, McLaughlin turned and began to walk off stage while still playing, kind of marching and swaying to the music. Joey followed him and they exited the stage in single file, marching New Orleans parade-style, to the music. You could hear them still playing for a few seconds after they disappeared through the door at stage right (they were both wireless).
McLaughlin, De Francesco, and Chambers seemed to be in good form and good humor. JMcL smiled, cried out, and laughed at some of the incredilble things DeFrancesco and Chambers came up with. Not too much blowing on the fingers -- he did blow into his left fist a couple of times during the first two tunes, as if to warm his fingers. Not much talking to the audience, just band intros and "thanks-we-are-really-happy-to-be-here-tonight-and-hope-to-return-soon." JMcL was playing the red single cutaway, single pick-up Gibson hollow body guitar. His playing focused more on the rapid-fire runs than on his more lyrical side. It didn't seem like he ever really cut loose, however. An excellent show, nevertheless.