John McLaughlin: "Enough of This Smooth Jazz!" - GuitarPlayer.com

John McLaughlin: "Enough of This Smooth Jazz!"

When John McLaughlin recently spoke to GP, he was clear on what is—and isn't—jazz.
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When John McLaughlin recently spoke to GP, he was clear on what is—and isn't—jazz.

"For me, jazz is a way of liberation through music. Because by definition, you have to be spontaneous, and when you’re spontaneous, you’re the most honest you can be. You can’t hide anything when you’re spontaneous—you’re your true self, with all your thoughts, with all your qualities. That’s the way you are. That’s the real person. It doesn’t happen every time, but when you can be spontaneous with people, collectively, the whole thing gels together in such a marvelous way, and we all get that buzz. The music becomes magical, and the audience knows that. They feel it when that happens, because we all speak music. We hear enough of this smooth jazz, or funky jazz. That’s not jazz.People want to hear smooth jazz so they can talk over it. As far as I’m concerned, you cannot talk over jazz—you cannot talk over Coltrane, and you can’t talk over Miles."

Read the entire interview in the January 2016 issue of GP.

Check out a preview of McLaughlin's latest album, Black Light, here.

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