The power to transform all of us

John McLaughlin - Black Light

John McLaughlin has been considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists since the early 1970’s. When he made his first concert appearance in Thailand early last year, Enlightened Planet posted a retrospective that touched on many of the highlights of his amazing fifty-year career. Even at the age of seventy-three, though, John does not appear to be slowing down… he’s still creating fascinating new music, and touring the world to support it!

Black Light is the third CD that John has produced with his latest group The 4th Dimension. This powerhouse lineup, which rivals even the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra in it’s virtuosity, includes Gary Husband on keys and drums, Ranjit Barot on drums and voice, and Etienne Mbappe on bass. They build on their experience together to fuse high-intensity electric jazz-rock with spiritual Indian themes, another truly genre-busting outing as you might expect given John’s open-minded and global approach to music. In his notes about the project on his website, John says “All my recordings are personal and reflect what is happening in my interior world, and I’m happy about the way the diverse cultural influences that have impacted on me for so many years are showing themselves on this new album.”

John McLaughlin

In a recent interview with Alan Bryson that was posted on AllAboutJazz, John explains what he means by the concept “Black Light”:

“Black Light to me is: how am I able to see images in my head, where there’s no light? How does music that I’ve never heard before come into my mind, and I can hear it? Music that has never been played comes into my head, and when I get enough of it I make a record. How is this possible? I haven’t the faintest idea how it happens! And WHY? It’s completely irrational. It’s inexplicable, it has no logic, it has no reference to anything other than it is what it is. How can you classify inspiration in a logical manner? It’s impossible. When we experience the state of inspiration we are not in a normal mind, we are in another kind of mind. I’m convinced that everything is inside of us, inside our consciousness. Remember, you’re talking to an old hippie!”

Ranjit Barot Etienne Mbappe Gary Husband

John confesses that it is sometimes difficult to describe in mere words what he hopes he is better able to express through his music.

“Why do we go see live music? We want that wonderful thing that reminds us that we all belong together. And the music has the power, it has the beauty, to do this, it transforms all of us out of our little world and into the music itself. The whole point of music is that we find a way to transcend ourselves, our mundane little world-self, and find the bigger world that lies inside all of us.

On a good night… there are nights where we [The 4th Dimension] become free, where we are liberated, and we are flying in the music, everybody in a collective sense, and at this point the audience will be flying with us because they’re in the music. I know it happens to me, when the band is flying onstage and I’m flying with them.

Don’t underestimate the ability of the audience to appreciate the music at a very profound level, because they’re all profound, everybody’s profound… they may not have been exposed to profound thoughts but deep inside they are there.

I’m convinced music brings powerful good… it just brings happiness, or joy, or tears, and that’s fine too. But it’s the great unifying power, I’m just delighted to be part of it.”

For more of John’s thoughts on music and inspiration, please take the time to listen to Alan Bryson’s full interview on AllAboutJazz, or on www.talking2musicians.com.

Come out Sunday, November 1st, to Aksra Theatre in Bangkok for John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension! The Thailand show is part of the wider Asia Tour 2015. Tickets are available for the Bangkok show at ThaiTicketMajor.

Bangkok Poster Tour Dates Poster

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Exploding the moment

Wayne Krantz - Good Piranha Bad Piranha

Electric guitarist Wayne Krantz was born and raised in a small town in the US Pacific Northwest, Corvallis, Oregon. This is unlikely to be the first place which comes to mind when you think “birthplace of jazz”, but, well, everybody has to start somewhere! Wayne remembers being interested in music from a young age. He decided to take up the guitar seriously after he heard the funky, rock-soul songs of the San Francisco Bay-area group The Sons Of Champlin (think early Chicago, or Tower Of Power), and their guitarist Terry Haggerty. Being on the geographical fringes probably allowed him the freedom to explore a wide range of music as he was shedding on his own and first building his technique.

When he arrived at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Wayne found himself much closer to the center of the music universe. “It was a big shock. I went from being one of the best guitar players in the area to being one of the worst, all in about 6 ½ hours. I’m not sure I ever really got over that!” He threw himself into his studies, and clearly made up for the missing early experience, learning from master jazz teachers such as Charlie Banacos and getting heavily into post-bop guitar and all that entails. Sax legend George Garzone (who just recently impressed the crowds with his trio at the 2015 Thailand International Jazz Conference) has said “Wayne Krantz is the only guitar player who can hang with me on the chromatic shit”! Read More »

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“Out There” with Oz Noy

z Noy - Twisted Blues Vol. 2On the heels of the release of his latest CD, Oz Noy is on the road leading a stellar trio featuring the remarkable Dave Weckl on drums, and Etienne Mbappe (seen recently in Bangkok with John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension!) on bass. I’d venture to guess that many of you have never heard of Oz Noy, so let’s lay some groundwork here:

“Imagine a player with the combination of Jimi Hendrix’s sonic adventurousness, Jeff Beck’s wit, John Scofield’s harmonic sophistication, Yngwie Malmsteen’s chops, and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tone. Now imagine that player writing and performing music as funky as James Brown and the Meters.” – Michael Ross, Premier Guitar

“ I had heard his record and I wanted to see this guy live. I think he has a fresh approach. He pushes the envelope, but it is intriguingly palatable. It is pleasing to listen to him play, because you get taken somewhere that is not typical.” – Eric Johnson

Twisted Blues Volume 2 is Noy’s sixth album and his second for the Abstract Logix imprint. It’s a sterling testament to his continued growth as a musician and composer, while affirming his ongoing commitment to clarity, groove, and grit of the blues.” – Guitar Player Magazine, Apr. 2014

Read More »

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  • Next Event

    John McLaughlin and
    The 4th Dimension
    November 1, 2015

    Guitar legend John McLaughlin has spent his storied career expanding the boundaries of jazz, fusing electric rock, Indian, and other world music styles in his own unique way. John returns to Thailand for a live concert with his band The 4th Dimension on November 1. Tickets on sale now at ThaiTicketMajor sites!

    “John McLaughlin is the best guitarist alive.” – Jeff Beck

    “What John McLaughlin did with the electric guitar set the world on its ear. No one ever heard an electric guitar played like that before, and it certainly inspired me.” – Chick Corea

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    Wayne Krantz Trio
    March 9, 2015

    Wayne Krantz is an über-talented electric guitarist who has worked with everyone from classic rockers Steely Dan to jazz heavyweight Chris Potter. Leading his own trio he creates improvisational sonic explorations which are rock-influenced and heavy on the groove. Come see what all the buzz is about! Featuring Anthony Jackson on bass, and Cliff Almond on drums, at M Theatre in Bangkok on March 9 at 8:00pm. Presented by Prart Music Group. Tickets available through ThaiTicketMajor.

    “Wayne Krantz, the muscular, funky New York guitarist, might be approximately parcelled into a John Scofield category – except that this exciting artist goes further than Scofield, and loves nothing more than hell-for-leather jams with mates.” – John Fordham, The Guardian


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