As it says on the sleeve, as opposed to the tin: file under jazz/rock. These words, as well as the crackling electrified sounds that they invariably conjure up, are the devil itself for those who see jazz as a purely acoustic, swing-based art. But even they would have to concede that British guitarist McLaughlin is one musician who has brought grace as well as aggression to the vexed sub-genre.
If one accepts that jazz-rock was Miles Davis’ early 70s bombshell baby then he, along with Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock, among others, was an invaluable midwife. Four decades on, McLaughlin is still playing with fire and finesse and his elder statesman status means that he can cherry pick talent when he assembles a band. The four-piece he leads here is notable for the presence of two powerhouse drummers, Mark Mondesir and Gary Husband (the latter also plays keys), though the real jewel of the sidemen is arguably Cameroonian bass guitarist Etienne Mbappé. His bubbling, percussive lines, seamless slides into double time and razor-sharp sub-divisions of the beat bring forth the sophisticated ruckus that is not so much jazz-rock as jazz that rocks.