During the summer of 2013, guitar legend John McLaughlin and his trailblazing band The 4th Dimension - Gary Husband on keyboards and drums, Etienne Mbappe on bass, and Ranjit Barot on drums and vocals - played a rare tour across America. On June 22nd they performed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. This extraordinary concert was recorded and is now being released as 'The Boston Record'.
John McLaughlin, who rose to fame in the 1970s as a prominent member of the jazz fusion ensemble the Mahavishnu Orchestra, has achieved something of a mythic status in music history. Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds has considered McLaughlin "the best guitarist alive", due to his unconventional, revolutionary method of playing and the starkly original music he has produced for decades.
McLaughlin is particularly proud of 'The Boston Record', as he said in the press release announcing the album: "From time to time, a live record is made that has everything: great collective playing, a terrific audience, fantastic recorded sound, and a wonderful atmosphere. In the new recording of our concert you'll find all of the above. I'm really happy about this recording".
This fiery performance features music from John's recent studio albums 'Now Here This' and 'To the One', not to mention a new take on the classic Mahavishnu Orchestra piece, "You Know, You Know", originally part of The Inner Mounting Flame album from 1971.
(4 stars) Numbers among the guitarist's finest albums of the last two decades. There is much here to excite - and not just guitar freaks; there is cohesion, mutual empathy and a powerful group sound. --Jazzwise, (Stuart Nicholson), May 2014
(4 stars) McLaughlin demands speed, power and control from his band...M'Bappe, Barot and Husband deliver all three, and then some, and, on this exciting and impassioned live recording, make established practices sound freshly minted. --Financial Times, (Mike Hobart), March 29, 2014
(4 stars) As ever, McLaughlin's virtuoso guitar work is front and centre, soaring across the rich harmonic and rhythmic textures...they conclude a highly energised set by revisiting an early Mahavishnu favourite, You Know You Know. --The Scotsman, (Kenny Mathieson), March 29, 2014
(4 stars) A prog and Indo-flavoured jazz-rock album stocked full of McLaughlin's own compositions 'Little Miss Valley', the longest piece second in here has an engaging garage-rock like feel to the beginning, M'Bappe bouncing the beat into your face. The Berklee audience adds plenty of atmosphere to the record...there's a shimmering intensity to The Boston Record, plenty of power sure but subtle textures emerging from nowhere and sheer joy too. --Marlbank, (Stephen Graham), March 15, 2014
It's hard to deny the still-blazing virtuosity of the 72-year-old after half a century on the road, or indeed the vigour of his compositions and the collective clout of the 4th Dimension quartet...the cheer that erupts when the band closes on the Mahavishnu fusion anthem You Know You Know endorses the dramatic force of the theme, and the devotion that still greets this guitar giant's work. --The Guardian, (John Fordham), May 2, 2014