bela fleck

“There’s something profoundly joyful about Shakti and the spontaneity of it,” says guitarist John McLaughlin, seen here with the group at the beginning of their 50th-anniversary celebrations.

Photo by Pepe Gomes

The intrepid guitarist celebrates his long collaboration with master percussionist Zakir Hussain and reflects on the groundbreaking cross-cultural fusion group, his longest running ensemble, and their new studio record, This Moment.

A few years ago, John McLaughlin’s career hung in the balance. Stricken with painful arthritis in his right hand, the famously dexterous and ambitious guitarist couldn’t maintain his playing. So, he announced his retirement from live performing, offering a final tour in 2017. In Billboard, the guitarist glumly mused: “You know, musicians never die. They just decompose. So, I’m on my way.” Though he went on to mention planned recording projects, he now says, “I thought, ‘Time’s up,’ the guitar goes under the bed, and that’s it. I’m out.”

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Nicole Atkins and PG editors share favorite memories from the last concert they attended. Plus, current obsessions!

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Premier Guitar editors detail the records that got us through another challenging year. Plus, some of the most-anticipated releases of 2022.

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