202

John Abercrombie: The Third Quartet

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
There is a continuum in jazz, as in most music genera, which extends from the most rigidly defined and precisely contained performance to the antithetically free and fully open recital. To offer examples of the former, one might consider swing era big band music of the Glenn Miller ilk. The latter is embodied in John Coltrane's late period as typified in Interstellar Space (Impulse!, 1967). Guitarist John Abercrombie, and the quartet he has fronted since 2000, falls to the right of center in this spectrum, producing quietly intense music of sculpted freedom and character.

Using the unique line-up of guitar-violin-bass-drums, Abercrombie effortlessly composes pieces snuggly fit to the band's considerable talents. Back to the freedom spectrum idea, The Third Quartet opens with the Abercrombie original "Banshee, a piece as untethered as blowing dust. Abercrombie affects a distorted tone while playing Eastern harmonic motifs in front of the sawing figures of Mark Feldman's violin. Drummer Joey Baron sets what tempo is present with his ride cymbal, throwing the occasional rim shot here and there.

The freedom of "Banshee is effectively contrasted with the lyrical "Vingt Six, which begins with an Abercrombie-Feldman duet, beautifully ornamented as a gentle ballad. Breaking from past practice, Abercrombie includes some standards in his recital, most notably Bill Evans' "Epilogue. Evans was known for a delicate and impressionistic approach to his piano performance, and Abercrombie and Feldman easily assimilate and emulate this approach in theirs.

The disc title, The Third Quartet, is a clever play on classical music naming. In this present case, it means the third recording by Abercrombie with his present working quartet, the two previous releases being Cat 'n' Mouse (ECM, 2002) and Class Trip (ECM, 2004). Each recording represents lessons learned from the previous one, showing a steady evolution toward a certain jazz perfection rare in the art.


Track Listing: Banshee; Number 9; Vingt Six; Wishing Bell; Bred; Tres; Round Trip; Epilogue; Elvin; Fine.

Personnel: John Abercrombie: guitar; Mark Feldman: violin; Joey Baron: drums; Marc Johnson: double-bass.

Title: The Third Quartet | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Float Upstream CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Extremophile CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Setembro CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read The Source CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Tangents" CD/LP/Track Review Tangents
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 28, 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.