Matt’s books

Matt’s new book ‘John McLaughlin: From Miles & Mahavishnu to The 4th Dimension’ will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in September 2023.

“Why don’t you bring your guitar tomorrow?” When Miles Davis invited John McLaughlin to the In A Silent Way recording sessions, it precipitated one of the most celebrated careers in twentieth-century music.

John came from modest beginnings in England’s industrial north to become an influential, inspirational and revered guitarist/composer/bandleader, famous for fusing elements of jazz, rock, blues, R’n’B, classical, progressive rock, funk, flamenco and world music. John has subsequently forged an illustrious, six-decade solo career, developing a large worldwide following in the process and exploring many facets of spirituality and philosophy.

Writer and musician Matt Phillips takes us on an exciting journey through McLaughlin’s career: his early years slogging around the British pop and R’n’B circuits, his flirtations with the European avant-garde scene, groundbreaking work with Miles and Tony Williams, the electrifying fusion groups The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti and One Truth Band, special projects alongside the likes of Chick Corea, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Carlos Santana and Jeff Beck, hugely popular acoustic collaborations with Paco De Lucia, Larry Coryell and Al Di Meola, and his 4th Dimension band, one of the longest-running groups in jazz history.

Drawing on hundreds of sources and interviews with key collaborators, From Miles and Mahavishnu to The 4th Dimension is the first major book about John McLaughlin since 2014 and the first ever to illuminate his 1980-2020 output. Featuring never-before-seen photographs and an introductory note by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, it’s a thrilling ride through the life of a master musician.

Matt’s book ‘Level 42 – Every Album, Every Song (on track)’, published in 2021, is the first in-depth study of the jazz/funk/pop band’s illustrious catalogue.

It features recording information, musical analysis, studio gossip, full credits, stories from the road and contributions from head honcho Mark King and key past members Gary Husband and Phil Gould.

The book also places their output within the wider musical landscape of the 1980s and 1990s.

‘Level 42 – Every Album, Every Song (on track)’ is available via the links below:


UK Bookshops

Burning Shed

World Of Books



Book Depository







Barnes & Noble



Amazon Germany

Amazon Netherlands

Amazon Sweden

Amazon Spain





Praise for ‘Level 42: Every Album, Every Song’:

“Phillips’ concise, forensic analyses opened my eyes and ears to new facets of the band’s music.”

George Cole, Jazzwise magazine


“Bloody brilliant!”

Jem Godfrey, *Frost/Joe Satriani keyboardist, songwriter and podcaster


“It’s excellent, it really is.”

Paul Waller, Level 42 expert and author of ‘Level 42: The Worldwide Visual Discography’



John Hannam, Isle Of Wight County Press


“To me, Level 42 are not the answer to the ultimate questions of life, yet Phillips’ engaging narrative certainly makes a strong case for it. It’s filled with knowledgeable wisdom, and he speaks his affection for the band brilliantly.”

Jan Buddenburg, DPRP


“This book is enhanced by contributions from both Mark King and Lindup whilst Phillips also provides a musician’s insight to the track by track breakdown.  A worthy and welcome re-assessment.  ****

David Randall,

Thanks to Bass Player Magazine who ran an excerpt in their June 2021 edition:

And many thanks to Level 42 mega-fan and friend of the band Julian Hall for his endorsement.