John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension LIVE

jebbuddajebbudda Posts: 5,030
edited December 1969 in Off topic/NON-DINO Music Area
OK .OK . I know many here can't take too much " jazz " let alone JM's recent offerings featuring the " pan flute " new age guitar tone . In fact the last few years have witnessed guys like myself wondering what the fuck is going on with John Mclaughlin . The past few albums have been really lame . One or two cool ideas per year ? Don't you sit around and play guitar all day ? Shouldn't a guy like JM have something BETTER to offer us ?

He toured with his " new " band The 4th Dimension a few years ago : We made a trip to Washington DC to see the show . One guy fell asleep halfway thru . Needless to say we were not impressed . JM's guitar tone was dead . Totally dry and brittle . I figured JM was done playing anything I would ever like again .

JM has quite a body of work . I've always had a thing for Mahavishnu . I'm totally in love with his acoustic work ...ESPECIALLY the Shakti era . Its the recent " jazz " stuff that I have such a hard time getting into . I figured at 72 years old he must have just slowed down , gotten mellow and generally lost the "burn" that at I loved so much . I was content listening to his old stuff . I had no hope for anything cool coming out of JM .

Somebody must have talked some sense into JM . He fired his old band , except for Gary Husband on keys , and found some up and coming monsters and recorded a killer live album at Boston's Berkley School of Music . JM is known for finding some exceptional players and this line up is probably one of the best he has ever put together .

Ranjit Barot on drums . Holy shit . He also plays with Jonas Hellborg . All I can say is this guy is a powerhouse . He is driving this music with pure passion and energy . I imagine we will be hearing more from this guy . The drums really got my attention . Eitenne Mbappe on bass .  :hmm:Never heard of this cat but its obvious he has some type of musical gift that goes beyond the norm . He is doing something different . I can't explain exactly what but this guy has a distinctive quality to his playing ....and chops from another planet . Of course Gary Husband on keys . I think he may be the guy that talked sense into JM and told him to start playing music from the back catalog .....and CHANGE THAT FUCKIN' GUITAR TONE GODDAMMIT !!!!!!!!!!!!

Mclaughlin fans  rejoice ! FINALLY we have something with some LIFE . JM has found a distortion pedal and plays his custom PRS but never puts any synth sounds to work .( Thank you God ) Plus he digs back into the past with some barnburners spanning the last 4 decades . Probably one of my favorite tracks is the " altered blues " of Little Miss Valley . JM brings it home . :clap: There is also a version of Hijacked  and Mahavishnu's You Know You Know where JM quotes a variety of influences from Miles Davis to Jimi .

I wouldn't call this " pedal to the metal " fusion as one reviewer did . But I'm sure JM had to lie down and take a nap after this show . Its a return to form of sorts . Its the coolest JM guitar playing I've heard in decades . The change in guitar tone makes a huge difference . Plus the material is so up beat , funky and at times even rockin' . It features JM's uncanny melodic invention and that swingin' shred that freaks so many guitar players out . He stands on it through out this CD . They do some nice breakdown/call and response kinda things as the energy ebbs and flows . JM can play some beautiful pristine stuff when he pleases .

No doubt you gotta be in the right state of mind to really get the most out of this music . I often have moments of discovery when I listen to JM ....especially in this context ....the band is really pushing him . Its so nice to hear JM wailing away . You wouldn't think this was music made by a 72 year old man .


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