All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

360

John McLaughlin & The 4th Diminsion: To The One

Robert Bush By

Sign in to view read count
Iconic guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin has released his most consistently engaging disc in years. What makes it so? Well, his band is the same kind of highly skilled fusion unit as on many McLaughlin dates—nothing new there. The main difference seems to be a renewed commitment to the art of songwriting. Much more care has been invested in these pieces and it shows. McLaughlin has always created thick jazz-funk grooves to improvise over; now, those grooves have real, singable melodies. This transforms them from mere jams into memorable songs.

McLaughlin himself attributes the music on this disc to two sources: first, a re-examination of the classic John Coltrane session A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964); and second, his own spiritual journey. Whatever the inspiration, the music on this recording sounds both fresh and familiar. McLaughlin's chops have never been better—now, when he launches into one of his trademark machine-gun like solos it's all the more effective, because it seems part of a real song.

From the opener, "Discovery," McLaughlin is all over it. His rapid-fire lines and wicked vibrato indicate that something special is happening. After a typically manic guitar solo, Gary Husband's Fender Rhodes is unhurried and tasteful. A short, powerful exchange with drummer Mark Mondesir is followed by a smart, fluid solo from Cameroonian bassist Trinacria, concluding with a furious improvised cadenza and more dialogue with the drums.

McLaughlin's multiple chorus units, distortion devices and wide vibrato drive the waltz, "Special Beings," which also features a fine Husband piano solo. "The Fine Line" is vintage McLaughlin funk, with a dirty guitar tone shaping a devilish riff. The drums are an almost equal component of the melody, and Mondesir shares the spotlight to good effect. Again, the ending of the piece seems to bring out the competitive demon in McLaughlin, as he often appears to be trying to squeeze in a bunch of ideas that just came to him. "Lost And Found" is kind of a power ballad, with its insistent snare drum backbeat and silky fretless bass line forming a cushion for McLaughlin's guitar synth melody. "Recovery" is an up-tempo bash, with fine, precise ensemble work on its tricky theme. McLaughlin's guitar synthesizer returns for the title track, "To The One," a truly memorable McLaughlin piece that also features a swirling guitar arpeggio right out of "Lila's Dance" from Visions Of The Emerald Beyond (Columbia, 1974).


Track Listing: Discovery; Special Beings; The Fine Line; Lost and Found; Recovery; To the One.

Personnel: John McLaughlin: guitar (1-3, 5), guitar synthesizer (4, 6); Gary Husband: keyboards, drums (5, 6), additional drums (1, 3), additional percussion (1); Etienne M'Bappé: bass guitar; Mark Mondesir: drums (1-4), additional percussion (5).

Title: To The One | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Abstract Logix

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "First Impressions" CD/LP/Track Review First Impressions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Colour And Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Colour And Movement
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Return To Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Return To Mind
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "No Answer" CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017