There was a tremendous amount of freedom in his playing that I had never heard before. Up until that point my exposure to music was the standard groups that are now referred to as "Classic Rock" who I still love, but I had never heard anyone play like this before on what I thought of as my instrument.
The guy was just blowing, and that was was the revelation.
I've followed John since then and as I got to be a better musician I started to understand just how good he really is. And not just in the obvious, virtuosic way, but for the incredibly clear way he expresses his ideas.
1 Nite Stand
When Que Alegria came out it became my favorite record for probably 2-3 years. I constantly came back to it and reveled in it. This was the John McLaughlin record I had been waiting for forever. It had everything that I had been attracted to about his playing and recordings on one disc: an amazing acoustic guitar sound (sometimes mixed with a guitar synthesizer), an unbelievable rhythm section, great songs and incredible blowing. For me, John's rhythmic expression is nearly unmatched by any well-known guitar player, I'm sure having to do with his immersion in Indian music. You really hear it on this record in every tune.
Below is a YouTube video of the solo excerpted from the song which will help you when learning or following along with the transcription and a link to a .pdf of the transcription.
"1 Nite Stand" is a bit of an odd bird on this record. It's essentially a funky 16-bar blues with a tacked on 2/4 bar making it 17 bars. That extra 2/4 bar will keep you on your toes if you want to play this one with your band.
What was great to see while transcribing this is how freely he moves in and out of playing very clear harmonic ideas based on the underlying chord changes and then playing free chromatic phrases. His command of the instrument and where he wants to go is fantastic.
One of the best examples of this is starts at bar 23 and continues through measure 30. The way he gets into playing over that B7 chord and follows the line through into the next E7 chord is nothing short of brilliant. Not to mention the technical demands of playing the line.
Link to the transcription:
> 1 Nite Stand pdf
If you're interested in a transposed version of this for horn, let me know, I'd be happy to provide it. I hope all of you get as much out of this as I did.