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John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, Town Hall, New York

John McLaughlin

It had been 10 years since McLaughlin played a bona fide fusion gig in New York, going back to a 1997 engagement with his The Heart Of Things band (Dennis Chambers on drums, Matthew Garrison on electric bass, Jim Beard on keyboards and Gary Thomas on tenor and soprano saxophones). More recently, he had made appearances in the Big Apple with his South Indian influenced acoustic ensemble Remember Shakti. But this gig was being billed as a return to the electric burn. And indeed it was.

The once and future guitar hero-now 65, sporting a shock of white hair and the “look of eagles” in his eyes, like a well-coiffed, Monaco version of Gandalf the White from Lord of the Rings-came out wailing with his solidbody Godin guitar set on stun. And his 4th Dimension band (Gary Husband on keyboards, Mark Mondesir on drums and the 23-year-old French phenom Hadrien Feraud on bass) provided just as many soloistic thrills as the fabled guitar slinger himself.

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