John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension: To The One (Abstract Logix ABLX027)
The guitarist has a blistering band comprising Gary Husband on keyboards (and sometimes drums too), Etienne M’Bappe on bass guitar and Mark Mondesir on drums, and he has set his sights firmly on achieving his own version of John Coltrane’s total absorption in the spiritual search for the source. He sees this, he says in the liner notes, as his own Love Supreme.
It sounds very different from that masterpiece, of course. It sounds like a pretty straight-ahead, intense jazz-rock fusion album. But there is a particularly focussed feel to it that sets it on a higher level than most music around.
The playing of all concerned is so far above the conventionally human and played seemingly so effortlessly that as a listener I found myself losing my bearings. Can this be possible, I started to wonder, as Husband embarked on a peerless electric piano solo and Mondesir switched the rhythms about beneath him.
Overall though, it’s McLaughlin’s sustained tone and lightning phrasing that has the jaw dropping lowest and staying there longest.
And it’s good to have some music back that markets itself unashamedly with the words “File under Jazz/Rock”.
Categories: CD review