John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension: To The One… The first time I heard Etienne M’Bappe playing, he was jamming with Hadrien Feraud in the F Bass booth at NAMM. The Gloves on his hands caught my attention but it was the bass playing that was amazing!
Now, if we take this very solid bass player and add him to John McLaughlin and a stellar lineup of remarkable musicians we get some serious Jazz/Fusion!
All the compositions are by McLaughlin and inspired by John Coltrane and the composers’ own endeavors of the last forty years. We experience a balanced variety of tempos and feels; Pulsing, upbeat, intricate songs are intermingled with some more calming, slower juicy treats. The strengths of the guitar, bass, piano and impressive percussion are played out in each take.
Coming out of the gate strongly with a surging piece titled “Discovery”, the CD is kicked into high gear from the very get go! Precise and upbeat, this track is cooking with Etiennes’ bass “percolating” a groove that keeps the whole thing in forward motion.
Another favorite of mine, “The Fine Line” mixes more of a rock feel with a blues/ swing that reminds me of some “Mancini” tunes. I think it would be great as soundtrack for a spy movie!
The final cut is the title song “To The One” and is a masterful blend of musicality and spirituality. Deliberate, yet soft-spoken, this is where McLaughlin is really talking to us.
All in all, John McLaughlin provides us with a total musical journey into his vision of Jazz. Etiennes’ outstanding bass support completes the images and complements each and every beat.
Enjoy this journey for yourself!