JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET, WITHIN A SONG


Beginning in 1974 with his first solo recording for ECM (“Timeless”), guitarist John Abercrombie has embraced various ways to augment the sound of his instrument, experimenting with synthesizers in the 80’s (“Current Events” “Getting There”) and recording albums in he 90’s with organist Dan Wall (“While We’re Young”) and violinist Mark Feldman (“Open Land)” that created arresting group dynamics and musical textures, yet never blurred the guitarist’s tonal purity. His discography includes nearly 30 releases as a leader in addition to his work in the group Gateway and countless collaborations with ECM artists including Charles Lloyd, Jack DeJohnette, Marc Copland and many others.

Abercrombie gets back to basics on his heartfelt and buoyant quartet recording, “Within A Song,” (ECM) paying tribute to his early influences by covering iconic tunes by Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. The music that spoke so clearly to Abercrombie in the 60’s is presented thoughtfully here, with good feeling and a touch of wistful nostalgia. It’s brought to fruition by the leader, saxophonist Joe Lovano, bass player Drew Gress and the remarkably evocative Joey Baron on drums. With toned down tempos and gripping sonics, Abercrombie often defers the lead voice to Lovano – the sweet tart notes jump from his horn rat-a-tat style on the bravura mash-up, “Within A Song”/”Without a Song” – while the guitarist toys with phrasing and subtle comps in the background. But when Abercrombie’s on deck, it’s the masterful and tuneful fretwork that energizes the recording. “Flamenco Sketches” radiates from Abercrombie’s new read on the melody and the tune unfolds dreamily, its form laced with stunning interplay. The quartet is in especially great form on Coleman’s “Blues Connotation,” which has a freer vibe, with unscripted solos that come together organically. Abercrombie takes the profound melody of Coltrane’s “Wise One” and seamlessly blends reverence for the source material with his effusive, joyful solo. The album is rounded out with the cool blue swing of Bill Evans’ “Interplay” and “Sometime Ago,” a sweet natured standard that connected the guitarist to the Art Farmer-Jim Hall Quartet and here it’s played by Abercrombie and crew with fond affection. (9 tracks; 61:15 minutes)
"Wise One," performed by John Abercrombie

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JAZZ IN SPACE: JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET, WITHIN A SONG

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET, WITHIN A SONG


Beginning in 1974 with his first solo recording for ECM (“Timeless”), guitarist John Abercrombie has embraced various ways to augment the sound of his instrument, experimenting with synthesizers in the 80’s (“Current Events” “Getting There”) and recording albums in he 90’s with organist Dan Wall (“While We’re Young”) and violinist Mark Feldman (“Open Land)” that created arresting group dynamics and musical textures, yet never blurred the guitarist’s tonal purity. His discography includes nearly 30 releases as a leader in addition to his work in the group Gateway and countless collaborations with ECM artists including Charles Lloyd, Jack DeJohnette, Marc Copland and many others.

Abercrombie gets back to basics on his heartfelt and buoyant quartet recording, “Within A Song,” (ECM) paying tribute to his early influences by covering iconic tunes by Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. The music that spoke so clearly to Abercrombie in the 60’s is presented thoughtfully here, with good feeling and a touch of wistful nostalgia. It’s brought to fruition by the leader, saxophonist Joe Lovano, bass player Drew Gress and the remarkably evocative Joey Baron on drums. With toned down tempos and gripping sonics, Abercrombie often defers the lead voice to Lovano – the sweet tart notes jump from his horn rat-a-tat style on the bravura mash-up, “Within A Song”/”Without a Song” – while the guitarist toys with phrasing and subtle comps in the background. But when Abercrombie’s on deck, it’s the masterful and tuneful fretwork that energizes the recording. “Flamenco Sketches” radiates from Abercrombie’s new read on the melody and the tune unfolds dreamily, its form laced with stunning interplay. The quartet is in especially great form on Coleman’s “Blues Connotation,” which has a freer vibe, with unscripted solos that come together organically. Abercrombie takes the profound melody of Coltrane’s “Wise One” and seamlessly blends reverence for the source material with his effusive, joyful solo. The album is rounded out with the cool blue swing of Bill Evans’ “Interplay” and “Sometime Ago,” a sweet natured standard that connected the guitarist to the Art Farmer-Jim Hall Quartet and here it’s played by Abercrombie and crew with fond affection. (9 tracks; 61:15 minutes)
"Wise One," performed by John Abercrombie

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