John McLaughlin announces lockdown-themed album built around “transcontinental collaborations”

John McLaughlin has announced a new album, Liberation Time, which utilizes the COVID lockdown as a jump-off point for largely improvisational collaborations with a variety of musicians.

With “physical proximity no longer a prerequisite,” in his words, the guitar great called on a range of players to back him on the new material. Among the artists involved are drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Sam Burgess and pianist Gary Husband (As the Spirit Sings); drummer Nicolas Viccaro, bassist Jerome Regard, tenor saxophonist Julian Siegel and pianist Oz Ezzeldin (the post-bop Right Here, Right Now, Right On); and McLaughin’s current 4th Dimension ensemble with Husband, bassist Etienne Mbappe and drummer Ranjit Barot (Lockdown Blues).

In addition to guitar, the album also includes solo piano works from McLaughlin, his first recorded performances on the instrument since his 1973 Carlos Santana collaboration, Love Devotion Surrender.

John McLaughlin Liberation Time

(Image credit: Abstract Logix)

Regarding the new album’s transcontinental origins, McLaughlin said, “The wonderful thing about music is that you put the headphones on and you are all in the same room.”

Liberation Time will be released July 16 and is available for preorder here (opens in new tab).

Additionally, McLaughlin will be performing on April 30 as part of International Jazz Day. The All-Star Global Concert will be live on the official Facebook page (opens in new tab) and jazzday.com (opens in new tab) at 2pm PT / 5pm ET.

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.