162

Joe Beck & John Abercrombie: Coincidence

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
This duet album is a guitarist's dream. Both Joe Beck and John Abercrombie have unquestionable individual virtuosity plus experience in this format through previous tandem performances with Larry Coryell, John Scofield, Ralph Towner and similar luminaries. Together, they explore pillars from the traditional and more exploratory jazz canons including Mercer Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," Miles Davis' "All Blues" and Ornette Coleman's "The Turnaround," plus new originals for the occasion, in witty and bright conversation

The interwoven riffs and rhythms of the opening "Beautiful Love" serve as both description and introduction. Its sharp yet soft accompaniment shimmers and pulses beneath the fluid and elegantly melodic leads, and it quickly proves impossible to distinguish which guitarist is playing what. Taken at a comfortable pace, "I Should Care" sounds more than familiar to these two masters—it sounds like a recorded master class. The meditative "How Deep is the Ocean" rushes past a little more quickly, and bounces colorfully upon its rhythmic waves.

On Beck's "Mikey Likes It," background guitar hammers down a muted electric blues riff —think of ZZ Top's rump-thumping classic "Tush" in the gentler hands of Pat Metheny—while lead guitar briskly inspects every corner of the tune. "All Blues" becomes its companion piece, with an opening that sings the melody in a genuine trumpet voice, before electric barbed hooks and ejaculations nimbly rumble through the accompaniment.

Coincidence is also the sound of Beck and Abercrombie enjoying the freedom that comes from playing with no rhythm section. "The Turnaround" is more or less arranged as a straight lead/rhythm blues guitar duet, but allows the duo to spacewalk further out. Almost in an instance, their lovely melodic dance through "My Romance" turns into a spacey abstraction that nestles back into the melody to close.

More than any other tune, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" sounds like two extremely talented friends just letting it hang out; several almost psychedelic blues passages—some shaded in raw fuzz-tones—rock pretty hard considering there's no rhythm section. Which is the one thing about Coincidence: It will immediately and devastatingly knock out guitar players and other musicians but, with no bassist or drummer, non-musicians might find it hard to lock down into the groove, and thus find more challenges in pursuit of its rewards.

Sadly, Coincidence proved to be Joe Beck's last release, as he succumbed to lung cancer on July 22, 2008.



Visit Joe Beck and John Abercrombie on the web.


Track Listing: Beautiful Love; Vingt-six; I Should Care; Israel; How Deep is the Ocean; Mikey Likes It; My Funny Valentine; All Blues; My Romance; The Turnaround; Just a Waltz; Things Ain't What They Used to Be.

Personnel: Joe Beck: guitar; John Abercrombie: guitar.

Title: Coincidence | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Yequm CD/LP/Track Review Yequm
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Schlitten CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read The Willisau Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Together Apart CD/LP/Track Review Together Apart
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Fly Or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly Or Die
by John Sharpe
Published: July 10, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.