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John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years sees the guitarist select his key performances at the legendary Swiss festival

John McLaughlin live at Montreux Jazz festival
(Image credit: John McLaughlin)

Fusion guitar legend John McLaughlin has announced the arrival of a new live collection, The Montreux Years – a curated selection of performances from his appearances at the famed jazz event.

The seven-track collection is due for release March 4 and sees McLaughlin pick his favorite moments from six sets, spanning the years 1978 to 2016. Among them are appearances with bands and former collaborators, including The Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Heart Of Things, The Free Spirits, The 4th Dimension and Paco de Lucía. 

John McLaughlin live at Montreux Jazz festival

McLaughlin (right) onstage at Montreux with his great friend and collaborator Paco de Lucía in 1987 (Image credit: John McLaughlin)

“To speak about The Montreux Jazz Festival brings back so many wonderful memories,” says McLaughlin. 

“But since my association goes back to 1971, we are looking at 50 years of history! Whether it’s the different incarnations of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, The One Truth Band, The Free Spirits, The Heart of Things, Carlos Santana or with the late great Paco de Lucía, the list goes on and on. 

“Not only all my musical performances at Montreux, but all my other visits to see my dear friend Claude Nobs the founder, my friends of the festival, join jam sessions, go hiking in the fabulous countryside around that lovely town. 

“Montreux is a big part of my life’s musical and personal history and to share this selection of my performances on this recording makes me truly happy.” 

The British guitar great recently turned 80 and remains an icon, particularly in jazz and progressive circles, where he is renowned for his technical ability and a relentless drive to incorporate influences from outside of rock, including jazz, Indian music and classical guitar styles.

McLaughlin plans to head out on a run of European shows to coincide with the release from early March. 

John McLaughlin live at Montreux Jazz festival

(Image credit: John McLaughlin)

John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years track list

  1. Radio Activity (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1984)
  2. Friendship (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1978) [LP release only]
  3. Nostalgia (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1984)
  4. Acid Jazz (Live - Montreux Jazz Festival 1998)
  5. David (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1987)
  6. Sing Me Softly of the Blues (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 1995)
  7. Florianapolis (Live - Montreux Jazz Festival 1987)
  8. El Hombre Que Sabià (Live – Montreux Jazz Festival 2016)

You can preorder your copy of John McLaughlin: The Montreux Years here

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.