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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension: Live @ Belgrade

By Published: April 22, 2009
As for McLaughlin, it's a rare opportunity to watch the guitarist delivering some pedal-to-the-metal fusion, from blinding lines articulated with nearly unequaled cleanliness to intuitive accompaniment—a skill rarely discussed when it comes to the guitarist, but one that should be, as he's equally potent as an ensemble player as he is when he's out front, center stage. His recent writing leans more to the lyrical, although when delivered at the speed McLaughlin does, it's something that can occasionally be missed. But while the theme to Floating Point's "Raju" has its share of high-velocity moments, equally it possesses passages that truly sing. McLaughlin clearly loves to push his group with relentless energy—and, at the same time, be pushed back—but his playing demonstrates a thematic focus on tracks like the balladic "Nostalgia" from Mahavishnu (Warner Bros., 1984) and Floating Point's gently funky "Maharina," performances that suggest restraint isn't a foreign term.

John McLaughlin / The 4th DimensionRecorded by Radio Television Serbia (RTS), the camerawork is exceptional, providing more than enough hands-on shots for aspiring musicians, but equally focusing on presenting Live @ Belgrade as a group affair. There may be no bonus features and only one stereo sound mix, but for those who missed seeing McLaughlin's 4th Dimension tour on either continent, or for those who wish to see documented the emergence of one of the great guitarist's strongest electric bands in recent years (it's also the first-ever video of a complete McLaughlin concert), Live @ Belgrade more than does the trick, and moreover whets the appetite for 2010, when the group will be reconvening for another round of tours in North America and Europe.

Tracks and Personnel

Personnel: John McLaughlin: guitar; Gary Husband: keyboards, drums; Mark Mondesir: drums; Dominique di Piazza: bass.

Tracks: Senor C.S.; Little Miss Valley; Nostalgia; Raju; Sully; Maharina; Hijacked; The Unknown Dissident; 5 Peace Band/Mother Tongues.

Photo Credit
Stills taken from John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension, Live @ Belgrade, courtesy of John McLaughlin, Mediastarz and Abstract Logix

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