187

John Abercrombie Quartet: The Third Quartet

By

Sign in to view read count
John Abercrombie Quartet: The Third Quartet John Abercrombie may well become the most recorded guitarist in jazz history—his discography being rather generous, to say the least. His collaboration with ECM spans three decades and counts over twenty solo albums with diverse formations and line-ups. Of those, the trios with organist Dan Wall and drummer Alan Nussbaum as well as Gateway (with drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland) were particularly grabbing. A sought-after sideman, he also played on countless projects by Kenny Wheeler, Charles Lloyd, Billy Cobham, Enrico Rava, Colin Walcott among many others. But, since Cat 'n' Mouse (ECM, 2002), this working quartet consisting of violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron, is where Abercrombie has directed his artistic aspirations.

Capable of outright expression as of sheer delicacy, Abercrombie's personality splits alternately, always "making musical sense, to quote guitarist Jim Hall. But on The Third Quartet, it is the gentler more intimate side of his music that garners attention.

"Number 9, a floating rubato ballad, is especially captivating. Atop a succession of dreamy chords and washes of cymbals, the sleepy melody slowly awakes then very gently lays. Another gem, "Vingt Six, also exemplifies Abercrombie's knack for supporting simply-constructed yet telling melodies with ear-pricking chord progressions. Starting out with a guitar/violin duo, Baron's sparse ride cymbal work later enters propelling a subtle swing waltz feel behind Abercrombie's inspired lines.

"Tres, a minimally-developed descending melody and bass line named after the small Latin American guitar, offers an opportunity to stretch over its more energetic tempo and faster harmonic rhythm as does Ornette Coleman's bluesy "Round Trip. The other cover, pianist Bill Evans' "Epilogue, adds an oriental touch reminiscent of Japanese miniatures—here, the violin substituting the kokyû or its Chinese equivalent, the erhu.

Maybe it's just the nostalgia of the leader's greatly missed acoustic playing; one cannot help but ponder, after listening to the superb closing track "Fine, how a focus on Abercrombie's compositions in an acoustic duo setting (or even solo with overdubs like this track) might be received. Until then, many spins are to be enjoyed from this disc.


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 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Strange Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Circles
by Daniel Marx
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "Reflections Of A Voice" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections Of A Voice
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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