Industrial Zen (Verve Music Group)

John McLaughlin

Released May 22, 2006

Jazzwise Top 10 Releases of 2006




The 20th Century’s most influential guitarist returns in 2006 with this ground breaking album that we have all been waiting for. Industrial Zen is a stunning window into the musical future where rock, jazz, electronic, jungle, be-bop, and world music all come together in natural harmony and endless possibilities. The eight compositions reflect the genius of John McLaughlin. He is backed by some of the hottest musicians on the planet. This is future-fusion at its very best. John McLaughlin spoke a few years ago to Bill Milkowski about this recording. –  » I think the critics will crucify me which is what I’m looking forward to. I’m going to destroy everything. I want to do something underground, unconventional. I’d like to get Eric Johnson involved in this project. They’re guys that I’ve known for years, and great guitar players, but I’d like to put them in another environment, in a situation that they’ve never been in before. And I’d like to get some sax players—jazz players and other kinds. And I’ll definitely use Shankar Mahadevan, the amazing vocalist who appears on Remember Shakti’s Saturday Night in Bombay. I’ve been thinking about this underground thing for three years but I just haven’t had time to do it. I’m dying to get it out. It’s like giving birth. »

Track Listing:

1. For Jaco (John McLaughlin) 5:15

2. New Blues Old Bruise (John McLaughlin) 7:14

3. Wayne’s Way (John McLaughlin) 7:06

4. Just So Only More So (John McLaughlin) 9:56

5. To Bop or Not to Be (John McLaughlin) 6:41

6. Dear Dalai Lama (John McLaughlin) 12:28

7. Senor C.S. (John McLaughlin) 7:38

8. Mother Nature (Shankar Mahadevan / John McLaughlin) 5:08


John McLaughlin: guitar, synth programming, drum programming (4), vocals (8)

Hadrien Feraud: bass guitar (1)

Gary Husband: drums (1, 7), keyboards

Mark Mondesir: drums (1, 7)

Bill Evans: sopranino saxophone (1, 4)

Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (2)

Eric Johnson: guitar (2)

Tony Grey: bass guitar (3, 8)

Dennis Chambers: drums (3, 5, 6)

Ada Rovatti: sopranino saxophone (3), tenor saxofone (6)

Zakir Hussain: tabla (3, 5, 6)

Matthew Garrison: bass guitar (4, 5)

Marcus Wippersberg: drum programming (4)

Otmaro Ruiz: synthsizer (5)

Shankar Mahadevan: vocals (6, 8)

Hadrien Feraud: bass guitar (7)

Engineers: Chris Griffin, Marcus Wippersberg, Neil Tucker, Richard Mullen

Mastered by Christoph Stickel

Photography by Karoline Amaury

Producer: John McLaughlin


For over two years in the early 1970s, the Mahavishnu Orchestra lit up the night sky. Everything was played at 500 mph, the volume was turned up to 11 and they changed jazz history. Then suddenly they were gone. Subsequent incarnations of the band were revived in the 1970s and the 1980s, but the energy and edge were no more. Subsequently, McLaughlin excelled at a variety of projects from India to Andulasia and it seemed as if those heady days of the original Mahavishnu were gone forever.
Then, without warning, comes Industrial Zen, and on it McLaughlin flexes his muscles and lets rip some of his most power packed, awe inspiring guitar playing since, well, the original Mahavishnu. But this is no retro affair, McLaughlin brings a variety of influences that have absorbed him over the years to colour the music, opening up new horizons to explore in the future. ‘Dear Dali Lama’ is the album’s key cut; full of passion and shifting moods, the highlight is Rovatti’s saxophone playing and a coruscating trio of McLaughlin, Chambers and Hussain who shift the mood of the piece into overdrive. 
The stunning young French electric bass virtuoso excels on ‘For Jaco’ (watch out for him) with Gary Husband also featured on drums and keyboards. Husband is especially sensitive on ‘Wayne’s Way’, a lovely tribute to Wayne Shorter featuring Rovatti, but throughout it is McLaughlin who takes centre stage in one of his most exciting and dangerous albums in a long while.

Stuart Nicholson (Jazzwise)