For followers who bemoan guitarist John Abercrombie's tendency to record rather adventurous albums with an often electronically treated tone, Witchcraft will be a delight. On this duo recording with bassist Don Thompson (who also plays piano on three tracks), the guitarists' sound is untreated, and the repertoire is standards. The two play well together, and there are some lovely moments on the record. The title track finds Abercrombie using the differing tonal qualities of his guitar's open strings to give the melody a unique interpretation.
Animato is not so much John Abercrombie's date simply because his name is listed first alphabetically. It is much more the music of Vince Mendoza, who composed six of the eight selections, and whose work on synthesizer is the dominant voice on this set of ethereal progressive instrumental music. Drummer Jon Christensen takes no backseat in urging the music forward with a subtle presence that represents a distinct primal and tribal jazz element. What electric guitarist Abercrombie does is link with Mendoza, merging his own synthesized blends of earth, sky and space to create beautiful textures and soundscapes in tandem with Mendoza's conceptual arrangements and expanded color palates.
Excellent addition to any jazz-fusion music collection
I'm afraid I cannot discuss this album in terms of "meribolant soul melodies" or such, but if you're looking for a peaceful and relaxed solo album from one of the top jazz guitarists, CHARACTERS might be just right for you.
"Speak to Me" is the CD premiere of a duo that has actually been in existence for some time. The recordings with pianist Marc Copland and guitarist John Abercrombie are classic examples of the quiet, calm art of communication practiced at the highest level. The musical meeting of these two contemporary jazz maestros has a wonderfully organic feel. It is comparable to the finest chamber music. The pieces shimmer with multifarious shades and meanings. They are small sound sculptures of artful transience. This is music from two of the most insightful players of jazz.
Guitarists John Abercrombie and John Scofield join forces for these early-'80s sessions, mostly duets while occasionally adding bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald. They delve into the jazz canon with an intricate duet of "Solar," a driving, Latin-fused take of "Four on Six" (in which Abercrombie overdubs an electric mandolin), and a dreamy duo interpretation of "If You Could See Me Now." The sole standard, "I Should Care," fares just as well in their hands, which settles into a relaxed exchange between the two players as if they are playing for themselves alone. Scofield's "Small Wonder" is scored for the quartet, a bristling post-bop vehicle with a feature for Mraz as well.