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On John McLaughlin's (Mahavishnu Orchestra)relationship to the music of John Coltrane:
(from NPR website)

Guitarist John McLaughlin never saw saxophonist John Coltrane perform. The jazz icon died in 1967, before McLaughlin had the chance. But Coltrane's historic 1965 album A Love Supreme has inspired every twist and turn of McLaughlin's career since he first heard it.

"It took me, actually, a year of listening to that record almost every day to finally hear what [Coltrane] was doing musically," McLaughlin says. "The least I can say is that he was very advanced, as a human being and a musician.

"The second thing, and perhaps the more significant, was the poem on the back of the album -- the LP, in those days," McLaughlin says. "This record arrived in my hands at a very significant time in my life, when I was starting to ask myself these fundamental questions about life and death, existence -- you know, the big questions we all address to ourselves sooner or later. This poem had such a wonderful effect on me. It was so inspiring and encouraging to me as a young seeker at that time, that I knew the music was really, in a more elegant and eloquent way, speaking about what he wrote about. But I couldn't hear it [at that moment in my musical development]."

More: Ten-minute interview of John McLaughlin on NPR