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Jazz Articles

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

John Abercrombie on ECM - Part 1: Through the '80s

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Now that the The First Quartet set of recordings by guitarist/composer John Abercrombie from 1979-1981 has been released, it is as good a time as any to explore Abercrombie's career on ECM as a leader/co-leader, plus some his work as a sideman. There is a famous epithet from Bill Evans: “Jazz is not a what, it is a how." He is saying many things here, but essentially it is that jazz is not any particular rhythmic pattern (i.e. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Abercrombie: The First Quartet

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In many ways guitarist John Abercrombie's recordings with his first quartet represent his real coming of age, as a jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He already had a substantial ECM discography behind him, including his fusion debut Timeless (1975); the overdubbed solo record Characters (1977); the first trio with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the self-titled Gateway (1975); and his first duet record with acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner, Sargasso Sea (1976). But many of these recordings (and others ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Abercrombie: The First Quartet

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In his more than thirty year career--almost exclusively with ECM--guitarist John Abercrombie has more often than not confined his formation to smaller groups ranging from solo through quartet. He has been less restricted in the style of music he creates and that diversity is demonstrated with mixed results on The First Quartet. The albums included in the three-disc set are remastered from original ECM analog recordings of Arcade (1979), Abercrombie Quartet (1979) and M (1981). All but unavailable in CD ...

REDISCOVERY

John Abercrombie: Characters

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John Abercrombie CharactersECM Records1978 Guitarist John Abercrombie's emergence as a guitarist of singularity seems, in retrospect to have happened very quickly. A band member in the horn-driven jazz-rock band Dreams alongside drummer Billy Cobham and the Brecker Brothers, as well as stints with fusion keyboardist Barry Miles, saxophonist Gato Barbieri and Cobham's own group, it was a remarkable period of evolution for the guitarist. Abercrombie made his first ECM appearance with Dave Liebman on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Towner / John Abercrombie: Five Years Later

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The long overdue release of Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie's Five Years Later, originally released in 1982, may well be the most eagerly anticipated of the Re:Solutions series that brings into print--on CD (four titles for the first time, Five Years Later previously only available for a limited time in Japan), vinyl and high resolution digital formats--seven historic ECM recordings. Add the three Abercrombie Quartet albums recorded immediately prior to Five Years Later--1979's Arcade, 1980's Abercrombie Quartet and 1981's M, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

John Abercrombie Quartet at Library and Archives Canada

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John Abercrombie Quartet TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Winter Jazz Festival, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada February 15, 2014 It's always a treat to see some of your jazz heroes performing in your hometown, but it's an even greater pleasure to see some of them performing together in the same group. Guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Marc Copland and bassist Drew Gress have been working together for nearly two decades, and they've all ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Abercrombie Quartet: 39 Steps

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Guitarist John Abercrombie has had a long and successful association with ECM records and for his latest release, 39 Steps, he completes his quartet with a piano. Abercombie had success with this format in the 1970s with Richie Beirach, George Mraz, and Peter Donald, but in the past 10 years his ECM releases have been more focused on his quartet with violinist, Mark Feldman. For his return to this format, Abercrombie has chosen pianist Marc Copland, making ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brendler and John Abercrombie: The Angle Below

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Peter Brendler and guitarist John Abercrombie have developed their playing partnership over a number of years, but The Angle Below is their first duo recording. Brendler--"the guy on the bass" as he's described in Neil Tesser's sleeve notes--is the nominal leader but he refers to the album as a collaboration. He's not wrong. He may be the driving force behind the project, the man who sorted out the studio, booked the dates, contacted the press and made the coffees, but ...


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