Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O'Riley Perform John McLaughlin's "A Lotus on Irish Streams"

by Christopher O'Riley

2 March 2012

Classical pianist and composer Christopher O'Riley curates Mixed Media selecting favorites of his work and others.

My collaboration with cellist, Matt Haimovitz, in the double-album CD set, Shuffle.Play.Listen and its eponymous and ongoing concert tour was a natural meeting of two musical paths. Matt’s been known to take classical works, like Bach’s “Cello Suites”, to unlikely venues such as the old CBGB’s and other non-classical venues, juxtaposed with my introducing classical concert halls with my own takes on Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Nirvana, et al. In exploring our mutual musical loves, the first name to spontaneously spring up was John McLaughlin. Matt actually was joined by John on his cello-ensemble, Grammy-nominated Meeting of the Spirits. So, for our first concert, I meticulously transcribed John McLaughlin’s hyper-virtuosic guitar solo from his Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Dance of Maya” from The Inner Mounting Flame and our very first concert together, a year ago in Billings, MT, featured it as the show-closer to an intrepid and enthusiastic crowd there at the Alberta Bair Theater.
“A Lotus on Irish Streams” was another natural choice for us, as it was a relaxed and inspiring improvisational environment (one can find numerous live performances of great variety and beauty by John, Mahavishnu keyboardist Jan Hammer and the violinist Jerry Grossman) for novices like the Classically-trained Matt and me. Nice to have our session video of same as this was the one-take track on Shuffle.Play.Listen.

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