Web Exclusive! DVD Review: John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension @ Belgrade Live

Filmed in Belgrade, Serbia, in May of 2008, John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension @ Belgrade Live [Abstract Logix] contains an entire John McLaughlin concert on DVD for the first time.
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Featuring the killer lineup of keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband, drummer Mark Mondesir, and bassist Dominique di Piazza (subbing for French wunderkind Hadrien Feraud, out due to an injury), the band soars through nine pieces, including old favorites such as “Hijacked,” “Mother Tongues,” “Nostalgia,” and “The Unknown Dissident,” as well as recent pieces such as the blazing “Raju” and the gorgeous “Maharina.” McLaughlin’s laptop-generated tones range from clean and bright to downright gnarly (particularly on the swinging blues-rock “Little Miss Valley”), with bits of tasteful effects processing added here and there. His playing is spectacular throughout, ranging from slow and subtle micro-articulations to fusillades of laser-quick runs—and his whammy bar technique is superb, whether adding slight pitch bends to the ends of notes or used to more dramatic effect. As a bonus, the DVD also serves as a sort of de facto instructional video, as McLaughlin’s hands get lots of close-up camera time. Of course, good luck trying to mimic him! —Barry Cleveland