Floating Point (Abstract Logix)

John McLaughlin

Released May 20, 2008

Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album 2009

DownBeat Five-Star Review






Guitar legend John McLaughlin has already said Floating Point, his brand new CD, “May be the best record I ever made.” That’s really saying something when you consider McLaughlin’s prolific and trailblazing career. The guitarist and composer has appeared on some of the most important jazz-rock and world music albums in the last 40 years.

For Floating Point, which was recorded in India, McLaughlin used several of the best Indian musicians in the world. McLaughlin calls these players the “young lions” of India. They include keyboardist Loiuz Banks, drummer Ranjit Barot, electric sitarist Niladri Kumar, flautists Shashank and Naveen Kumar, percussionist Sivamani, vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, electric mandolinist U.Rajesh, and Hindustani slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya. Joining them were other Western stars saxophonist George Brooks and bassist Hadrien Feraud. With a line-up like that, you would expect a very Indian experience. But, McLaughlin says not necessarily so.

“Now while this CD features predominantly Indian musicians, we are in quite another form compared to the group Shakti,” McLaughlin says. “The music is for the most part ‘Jazz-Fusion’ if a label has to be put on it. But with the musicians involved in this project, it has also a ‘world’ kind of atmosphere.” McLaughlin adds, “I really am happy with the outcome of this CD which actually came about quite spontaneously and without any real planning. You can hear in the music where I am in my development, and in which directions I’m moving. It was a real thrill to play with these players, and I offer my thanks to them for their unique contributions. I truly wish and hope that it brings something to the listeners. I also offer my deep thanks to them for their continued support to my dedicated work.”

Track Listing:

1. Abbaji (For Alla Rakha) (John McLaughlin) 9:01

2. Raju (John McLaughlin) 8:21

3. Maharina (John McLaughlin) 6:09

4. Off the One (John McLaughlin) 6:55

5. The Voice (John McLaughlin) 9:19

6. Inside Out (John McLaughlin) 8:30

7. 1 4 U (John McLaughlin) 7:07

8. Five Peace Band (John McLaughlin) 7:06


John McLaughlin: guitar synthesizer, guitar (2, 4, 6, 8)

Hadrien Feraud: bass guitar

Louiz Banks: keyboards

Ranjit Barot: drums

Sivamani: percussion, konokol (6)

George Brooks: soprano saxophone (1)

Debashish Bhattacharya: Hindustani slide guitar (2)

Shashank: bamboo flute (4)

Shankar Mahadevan: voice (5)

U Rajesh: electric mandolin (6)

Naveen Kumar: bamboo flute (7)

Niladri Kumar: sitar (8)

Recorded April 2007 at AM Studios, Chennai India

Producer: John McLaughlin

Assistant Engineer: Adhitya Modi


John McLaughlin has created many high notes in his career, and just as many superb albums: Devotion, The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds Of Fire, Shakti, Electric Guitarist and Friday Night In San Francisco. Add Floating Point to that rarefied list. Seemingly cut from the same cloth as last year’s Industrial Zen, Floating Point is by far the superior record.

Recorded in India with a resident cast (save exceptional bassist Hadrien Feraud and saxophonist George Brooks), Floating Point features similar guitar synth overtones as Industrial Zen, and similarly polished production, but this brilliant collective plays as a single unit, not a band of hired studio guns. A shared sense of exhilaration, intensity, joy and purpose emerged in tracks like Off The One, Abbaji, and Five Peace Band, much of the propulsive fury created by the team of drummer Ranjit Barot and percussionist Anant Sivamani. This is a case of Indian musicians using their extraordinary skills to explore U.S. fusion, giving the guitarist an amazing platform for compositional / improvisational development. Barot and Sivamani rattle and shake their tubs like mad in Abbaji; later Barot double-times the tempo below as keyboardist Louiz Banks blows above – a ferocious whirlwind. Vocalist Shankar Mahadevan leads The Voice, a dancing drill of willowy synth riffs and Barot’s endlessly percolating drum conversation. Mahadevan’s dark, melancholic tones spread like dark clouds as bassist Feraud spins decidedly Jaco-ish commentary. This is a landmark recording, marked by detail, subtlety, and extraordinarily moving performances.

Ken Micallef (DownBeat)