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"In the end, this is really all that we have," McLaughlin points out. "How do we live with our soul? How do we live with the supreme being? What kind of relation do we have with ourselves through our soul?

"This is what's great about jazz music or improvised music," he adds. "You're telling the story right now in its realness. What's weird is that you can go to the stage tired — you didn't get much sleep, you haven't eaten, you have to get up early, you had three flights — and you get to the gig and you're like, 'Aw, man, I'd just like to sleep.' But you get on stage and you get amazing inspiration. You don't know where it comes from. And that's all, really, that we live for when we go to the stage — to have that thing happen. Because that's the only moment we have, really. The rest doesn't exist."

Playing guitar is a spiritual thing for John McLaughlin.
John Bouchet
Playing guitar is a spiritual thing for John McLaughlin.

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Boulder Theater

2032 14th St.
Boulder, CO 80302

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Boulder

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An Evening With John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, 8 p.m. Saturday, December 4, Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder, $41-$61.50, 303-786-7030.

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But in that moment, McLaughlin says, the key to playing well is just getting out of the way. "It becomes very simple in music, because if you're thinking, you're not playing," McLaughlin concludes. "Playing is really not thinking. There's no way you can do two things at the same time, at least not for me, anyway. If I'm playing, I'm really not thinking. I should not be thinking if I'm playing. So this is all a question of practice and discipline and getting out of the way. That's really the secret."

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