The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

John McLaughlin, 1982

John McLaughlin

"Around that time I started to listen a lot to Django Reinhardt and Tal Farlow. They were my heroes on guitar. They still are. Maybe that's why I like violinists so much-because I loved Django and Stephane Grappelli.

When I was sixteen, I went on the road with a traditional jazz band called "Professors of Ragtime" This got me to London-which, of course, was the center of jazz in England. In those days there were two clubs: The Marquee and the Flamingo. They were great. Everybody met everybody there, and the attitude was that everybody could play with everybody. So this is what I did. I remember jam sessions with everybody and anybody.

I remember the Rolling Stones coming in for an audition. I didn't care much for them. They were out of tune, and I didn't think they were swinging, but at least they were playing Muddy Waters' blues tunes.

I started to play with the Graham Bond Organization and with Alexis Korner. Alexis had everybody in his band at some point. But Miles Davis' "Into the Cool" with the Gil Evans big band really did it for me. Miles crystallized a new school of music, and I immediately felt: That is my school. But I kept on playing rhythm & blues and it was great, because they were playing real jazz solos. It was blues, but at the same time it was much more than blues.

I played with Eric Clapton and Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ginger Baker and everybody, but I now must talk about Graham Bond. He meant a lot to me. I had grown up in an ordinary school where the teacher taught religion in a very dry way. He did not understand what religion-and Christianity-really means. He was not a living Christian. I never went to church, but Graham Bond-God rest his soul-really was a seeker. He was interested in the invisible things in life. He introduced me to a book about ancient Egyptian culture, and I got very interested in this because, for the first time in my life, I realized that a human being is much more than meets the eye."

Jazz Times magazine, May 1982.
Interview by Joachim Berendt