LDS with John McLaughlin


Coming to America:


"I came here at the invitation of Tony Williams. Who even today, nobody plays like Tony. The closest drummer to Tony today is Cindy Blackman.

I'm over there in Europe. Lets not equate the European Jazz scene with the American Jazz Scene. Today there's a lot more balance between the two continents but in the sixties it was America. You have no idea, since I was fifteen all I dreamt about was going to New York, New York NEW YORK! Not only New York but Harlem! That was the heart of jazz, that's where jazz was born and that was my music.

First of all when I arrived in America I nearly kissed the ground.  Tony met me at the airport and he was playing with Miles that night up in Harlem so the first day I'm in Harlem and I meet Miles and the next day I saw him again and he invited me to play on "In a Silent Way." How lucky can you get! It's like your dream coming true- literally.

I was really struggling to survive but Miles helped more then anyone. He put money in my pocket, he'd say, "make sure you eat. Get by and pay your rent."

Working with Tony in those days playing clubs we were making $20 a night. But I was welcome from an artistic music point of view.

Jazz has always been marginal. Miles made money, Coltrane made money they were the big jazz stars, not fortunes like the pop people never the less good earnings, records.


"No one ever said it was easy, man. To be a free spirit in the true sense of the word you have to surrender to just what happens around you. You cannot fight what is, the effort of trying to fight what is is a waste of time. The only thing we can change in my opinion is ourselves. The power of dedication, the power of perseverance are all related to how much you love what you do. How much you care about what you do and how much attention you give to that.

In a way what's outside is what it is. We cannot control what is going on outside. We have to surrender to life as its dealt us. You know what Im saying.

You don't know how many different jobs I had do you? Driving Trucks, selling instruments, repairing instruments, selling cameras, selling Caviar to a London Hotel. Any number of driving jobs I've had. This is the life of a jazz musician. I never drive a taxi though. I had a lot of jobs just to keep body and soul together.i don't regret it for a second. Whatever happens to us it's part of what should happen to us. If something happens to you, it sounds hard but you have to welcome it at some point. I've had a lot of rough things happen to me but people don't want to know what life was like before I became a public figure. They don't really care to tell you the truth. It's all about whether it makes you or whether it breaks you."


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