11

John Abercrombie Quartet: Up and Coming

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Up and Coming is the second release by this version of the John Abercrombie Quartet, following 39 Steps (ECM, 2013). It further cements the longtime relationship between Abercrombie and pianist Marc Copland, which extends back to when both were playing in Chico Hamilton's band in the early '70s (Copland was still playing alto saxophone then, before deciding to concentrate on the piano). They have recorded together many times: two notable examples before joining forces in this quartet are Copland's Another Place (Pirouet, 2008) and Five on One (Pirouet, 2010), a quintet recording with Dave Liebman under the group name Contact. In addition to other associations, drummer Joey Baron has been part of Abercrombie's groups since the quartet with violinist Mark Feldman made their debut with Cat 'n' Mouse (ECM, 2000), while bassist Drew Gress first joined on Within a Song (ECM, 2012) with saxophonist Joe Lovano.

So there is a lot of shared playing experience to draw on, along with considerable group chemistry. They ease into the program with the gentle "Joy" (clearly not the exuberant kind), while the up-tempo "Flipside" is built around a classic Abercrombie melody line. The same could be said of "Sunday School," a long winding line which the band takes its time exploring. The title tune's lyrical swing provides space for a fine bass solo from Gress. Miles Davis' "Nardis" is the one cover in the set. They ease into it slowly, playing the well-known theme rubato at first. Once in tempo they maintain the same easy, conversational approach. While it is not a radical rearrangement, the group makes this classic their own.

This instrumental combination inevitably recalls Abercrombie's first quartet with pianist Richie Beirach. There is certainly a comparable fellow-feeling. Abercrombie praises Copland's ability to go beyond what is written on the page, expanding his tunes in ways he would not have thought of himself. Beirach contributed about half of the compositions in the earlier band's book. Copland has less impact as a writer, with only two tunes on this set (the same number as the previous album). But they compliment Abercrombie's pieces nicely—just a bit more elaborate harmonically and structurally, yet not so much that they sound like they belong with a different band.

Four years is a long time between releases, but it was worth the wait. Here's hoping for more from this quartet. And sooner rather than later.

Track Listing: Joy; Flipside; Sunday School; Up and Coming; Tears; Silver Circle; Nardis; Jumbles.

Personnel: John Abercrombie: guitar; Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: double bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Title: Up and Coming | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24 CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Aleka CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "I'll Tell You Later In December" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Tell You Later In December
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Aerial" CD/LP/Track Review Aerial
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Faces" CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor