The blues may be the only thing even more universal than the current global pandemic we are all operating through. With this in mind, pathbreaking guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin has convened his longstanding band the 4th Dimension — Gary Husband (keyboards), Etienne M’Bappe (bass), and Ranjit Barot (drums, konnakol) — via the Internet to record “Lockdown Blues,” the multifaceted ensemble’s first new studio recording in five years. Although each performer contributed his part remotely from far-flung locales (McLaughlin: Monaco, Husband: London, M’Bappe: Paris, Barot: Mumbai), their deeply felt connection transmits clearly through high-speed data lines as they tackle a rigorous, propulsive new McLaughlin composition rooted in the blues, but enlivened and disrupted by his signature rhythmic intricacy.
McLaughlin convened the 4th Dimension to help raise awareness and funds for the Jazz Foundation of America, who has supported jazz music and jazz musicians for over 30 years. “The pandemic has thrown hundreds of thousands of musicians out of work,” McLaughlin reflects, “and nobody knows how long.” With this in mind, the Jazz Foundation of America has recently established a COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund to give musicians and their families money to help cover basic living expenses.
A video of the 4th Dimension performing “Lockdown Blues” is available to view on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the audio recording can be downloaded free on Abstract Logix Bandcamp page: https://abstractlogix.bandcamp.com. Donations can be given directly to the Jazz Foundation of America at www.jazzfoundation.org.
“As a band, we’ve been together so long we’re family,” McLaughlin concludes. “But in fact we go further back: Humanity is the only family, and we believe the only way humanity will survive is if we care enough for each other. We hope that whoever sees or hears this will care also. So, if you donate something — even something really small — thank you.”