Most helpful positive review
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A mature, balanced, and inspired night of fusion in Paris
on October 8, 2000
"Live in Paris", also entitled "The Heart Of Things", includes three of the six themes that were previously released in Mc Laughlin's 1997 studio album with the same title. This CD offers six live themes performed live in Paris and the band is almost the same as in "Heart of Things". The only change is that Otmaro Ruiz replaces Jim Beard on keyboards.
Right from the beginning of this recording the group establishes that they play straight modern jazz-fusion with rock influences but without any psychedelic extravaganzas. Saxophonist Garry Tomas has a main role in the band and so does Otmaro Ruiz who beautifully responds with the keyboard to the music dialog. The performance of drummer Dennis Chambers and percussionist Victor Willimas is perfect and extremely dynamic throughout the concert. Both are responsible for the many rhythm and mood changes and the jazz-rock ambience that is present throughout the concert. McLaughling plays electric guitars and sounds very mature, concentrated, and relaxed. The concert is very much enriched, because Mc Laughling acts as a member of the band instead of a soloist with a backing group. There are several inspired and amazing guitar solos that go in and out of the music scales as he pleases (Mc Laughiling can afford to do so). Musically the album is closer to what you would expect to listen in a Weather Report album or in a C.Corea/A.Dimeola/S.Clarck collaboration, and a departure from previous Mahavishnu projects. Lastly, Matthew Garrison's bass playing is very energetic and supports the group's search for music expansion.
If it weren't for the audience applause celebrating the music's highlights you couldn't tell this CD is a life recording. The sound is outstanding. If you are into jazz-fusion and enjoy crossing music boundaries, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a group where the metals, the guitar, the keyboards, bass and drums have an equal opportunity to show their inspiration and expertise. Live in Paris, summarizes McLaughlin's capabilities as a guitar player and composer, plus it features an active and creative group playing with him. The material presented outperforms the studio CD: "Heart of Things", and the previously realesed live albums.