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Album Review

For anyone who's paid attention to John McLaughlin's recorded output since the turn of the century, it's obvious that he's been on a creative streak unequaled since his days as a Miles Davis sideman and his early Mahavishnu Orchestra recordings. Whether it's his two Remember Shakti sets, or the guitar-and-strings offering that was Thieves and Poets, the Indian carnatic intensity of his Floating Point band, or his forays into fiery, improvisational jazz-rock terrain on Industrial Zen, the evidence is clear. With his latest band, the 4th Dimension, McLaughlin has been on a tear. The band's first offering, To the One, is a direct jazz-rock investigation of John Coltrane's influence on McLaughlin's musical thinking. Now Here This is a knottier jazz-rock fusion offering — with all the positive connotations of that word and none of the negative. Keyboardist Gary Husband and Cameroonian über-bassist Etienne M'Bappé are holdovers from To the One, while drummer Mark Mondesir has been replaced by Ranjit Barot, who helmed the kit on Floating Point. McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension marry propulsive prog rock to Indian modalities to serious grooves (thanks in no small part to M'Bappé's wildly funky, virtuosic bass playing and Barot's triple-timed breaks and fills). Check opener "Trancefusion" for evidence of kinetic, infectious stop-and-start fusion that keeps rock and jazz in dynamic tension. "Riff Raff" careens with funky bass and keyboard interplay and massive guitar and drum kit grooves. "Echoes from Then" showcases McLaughlin's frenetically rhythmic rock soloing on an extended bass and keyboard vamp, while "Call and Answer" allows Husband to show off his post-bop chops in fluid right-hand flourishes. For balance, there are a couple of mellower cut such as "Wonderfall" (with lovely, languid bass work from M'Bappé) and "Not Here, Not There," a more R&B-oriented, midtempo, jazz-funk vamp that features lyric, emotive playing from McLaughlin. "Guitar Love" is a more rock-based jam, while closer "Take It or Leave It" mines Indian harmony, complex syncopation, and spacey funk with intuitive guitar and keyboard exchanges. Now Here This not only continues the excellent run of albums McLaughlin's amassed in the 21st century, it also displays the 4th Dimension not as a group of sidemen, but as an exciting working band which possesses depth, breadth, and imagination.

Customer Reviews

Not good quality m4a files !

McLaughlin music is absolutely GREAT, but digital recording on these m4a files is not good…
On few files (for instance the first tune, Trancefusion) there is sound distortion, and saturation
of sound (mainly during drums peaks). Not good for purchased music…not good for iTunes...

Fishcricet...

The album is not distorted. It's called compression. I know compression when I hear it. More compression equals more low end usually. No distortion on my speakers. Too much low end could distort lower quality speakers. Other than the overproduction of the kick drum at least, which could have a sample with it, most likely, the album sounds pretty ok.

I wish iTunes would use 256 kbps Bit Rate MP3s. The file sizes wouldn't be that much larger. Besides, if the audio quality was better, your distortion problem might even get worse because there might be even more low end.

AWE-INSPIRING!!

McLaughlin is back! This CD is full of amazing songs AND playing...! Check out "Riff Raff" for some serious fusion shredding! Etienne M'Bappe is also on board, as are Gary Husband on keys and Ranjit Barot on drums. All the songs are incredible! Pick it up - you won't be dissapointed!

Now Here This, John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings