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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Now Here This




Trancefusion [7:16]

Riff Raff [7:02]

Echos from then [6:07]

Wonderfall [6:27]

Call and answer [5:53]

Not here not there [6:16]

Guitar Love [7:08]

Take it or leave it [3:46]

John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension: John McLaughlin (guitar), Gary Husband (piano, synthesisers, drums), Etienne M’Bappe (electric bass, fretless bass), Ranjit Barot (drums).

All compositions by John McLaughlin.

rec. at Studio 26 Antibes, France by Marcus Wippersberg & Frederic Betin (no date given) [50:01]

Not that it is necessary to prove that the English county of Yorkshire (often known as God’s own county) has a lot to be proud of, from its fabulous countryside of dale and fell and gorgeous coastline to its rich past, but it has also been the birthplace of some of history’s greatest movers and shakers in all walks of life, including the likes of Captain Cook, William Wilberforce, Amy Johnson, Thomas Chippendale, J Arthur Rank, JB Priestley, Alan Bennett, Charles Laughton, David Hockney, Henry Moore, Frederick Delius, John Barry, the Brontës and Guy Fawkes. Lovers of Jazz and, in particular, Jazz-Fusion will be interested to know that John McLaughlin, ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as 49th in the list of 100 greatest guitarists in history and by guitarist Jeff Beck as “the greatest guitarist alive” is also a Yorkshireman, born in Doncaster in 1942. Almost the personification of the term ‘mover and shaker’, innovation comes as standard with McLaughlin who has always stood at the forefront of boundary pushing as witnessed by his creation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the 1970s. He’d already made his mark on Miles Davis’ groundbreaking and seminal albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew that heralded Miles’ excursion into Jazz-Fusion way back in the late ‘60s. While Miles’ exploration of that avenue didn’t last John McLaughlin decided that it was where he felt most at home and able to find his own original expression and he’s been there ever since. This latest album is according to the man himself the culmination of his life’s work this far. Sparking with electric energy from the word go the album leaps into action with Trancefusion. Throughout the disc 4th Dimension blend together demonstrating their collective and individual prowess with fellow Yorkshireman Gary Husband’s intelligent piano and Cameroonian M’Bappe’s pulsating electric bass giving great backing to McLaughlin’s astonishing playing with Indian drummer Ranjit Barot anchoring things in the not so background. The stall well and truly set out from the start the disc continues with similar high octane performances and the whole is in modern parlance “a roller coaster ride” of thrills. The more laid back compositions such asEchos from then and Wonderfall, a particularly lovely and gentle ballad, together with Not here not there and Guitar Love, enable even greater appreciation of this band’s brilliance. Guitar Love has some particularly fine playing from McLaughlin (not that I wish to ‘feint with damn praise’!) with great accompaniment from Gary Husband’s synthesiser. This is very much a collective endeavour that creates a real kaleidoscope of sounds that are enmeshed together to form a truly cohesive whole. Lovers of jazz fusion will need no encouragement to add this disc to their collection and those who may think the genre is not for them should dip their aural toe in the waters for they will want to take the whole plunge if they do.

Steve Arloff


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