Album Reviews

John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension

Live @ Ronnie Scott's

Artist:     John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension

Album:     Live @ Ronnie Scott's

Label:     Abstract Logix Music

Release Date:     09/15/2017

90

Regardless of the setting, fusion jazz legend John McLaughlin possesses a unique ability to blow its roof off, no matter how subdued or dazzlingly fast he plays. Settled contently with his tight backing crew the 4th Dimension, McLaughlin leaves no one at the famed London venue Ronnie Scott’s disappointed thanks to his even blend of Mahavishnu Orchestra classics and newer tunes from his more recent efforts Now Here This and Black Light.

On this nine-track delight, recorded over two nights back in March, 2017, McLaughlin makes sure to highlight grooves whenever possible for his audience. Album opener “Meeting of the Spirits” and “Miles Ahead” are slower in execution but given their startling complexity (still apparent after more than 45 years!), they still embody technique to the fullest. “Here Come the Jiis,” “Vital Transformation” and “Echoes of Then” all emphasize McLaughlin’s prowess and humility as he never hesitates to give individual time, space, and sound to his fellow instrumentalists, drummer Ranjit Bardot, keyboardist Gary Husband and bassist Etienne M’Bappe.

If McLaughlin sounds this good when playing overseas, one should scramble to see him stateside while they can as he’s apparently playing his last shows in America. One listen to this and it’s obvious McLaughlin’s “inner mounting flame” continues to burn brightly at this stage of his career.

—Ira Kantor

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