John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension — To the One
(Abstract Logix ABLX 027, 2010, CD)
Has there ever been such a strong John McLaughlin studio album? This slightly revised quartet has come off some high mountaintops (specifically the guitarist’s last two albums, Industrial Zen and Floating Point), and this record benefits greatly from the strong chemistry between keyboardist Gary Husband and McLaughlin on the front line. Main drummer Mark Mondesir is clearly in a effortless class all his own with his wonderful snare; Husband himself even gets in a few licks on drums, too (where it's a real percussion duet and not just a drum-off). Having seen this lineup at the end of their fall 2010 tour gives an appreciation for this top-notch chemistry. New member (and ex-Joe Zawinul bass guitarist) Etienne M'Bappe is a perfect fit for the ensemble, holding down the blistering groove and giving root to each of the songs. McLaughlin himself even shows a little Jeff Beck influence nowadays, and his new approach is welcome and effortlessness. He has clearly shaken off the Mahavishnu reins and injected his new music with a modern flair that doesn't lean heavily on his legacy. Husband also pushes the harmonic envelope with some fine keyboard improvisations, much in the tradition of the long legacy of classic McLaughlin keyboardists. We can hear the voices that these fellows have left behind.
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more