Abercrombie’s pinpoint precision abounds, his mid-heavy picking amplified to buttery sweetness, and shares notable interplay with Beirach. Over a yielding backing, these sustained reverberations occasionally coalesce in bright tutti passages. The resulting sound is nothing short of enchanting. A neglected classic to be sure, Arcade is available on CD only in Japan, and is one of three fine John Abercrombie Quartet sessions that one can only hope are next in line for an Old & New Masters treatment.
Arcade is one summarily pointing the milestone of all the great experiences and expressions, and, frankly, it’s not an over-estimated value. The rich colors produce a quatish polish, so to say that music has gained its entire hope and weeps for the blessing’s capable flow.The easy way, Arcade is splendid. The vital way, this is a session of bright to beloved jazz.
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.
John Abercrombie's 1989 release UPON A TIME is, as the subtitle points out, an album of duets, mostly with bassist Mel Graves and drummer George Marsh. While bass and drum solos are often the punchlines of musical jokes, Graves and Marsh are skilled players with enough good taste to keep the flashiness to an interesting minimum. As for guitarist Abercrombie, his playing is typically brilliant, whether picking out the traditional melody of "My Scottish Heart" or moving into a more impressionistic sonic arena in tracks like "In the Woods" or "Chuck Man Rivers." Earthier and more expressly jazz-based than many releases on the ECM-affiliated New Albion label, UPON A TIME is a satisfying, richly rewarding album.
"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.
As part of ECM'0bs Old & New Masters series of box sets, John Abercrombie's The First Quartet collects three albums recorded for the label between 1978 and 1980. Two titles, 1979's Abercrombie Quartet and 1981's M, have been unavailable for decades. By the guitarist's own admission, this band represents the guitarist's first time as a "proper" bandleader. His earlier dates on ECM had been co-led sessions (Timeless, Gateway, Sargasso Sea), a solo album (Characters), and sideman gigs (Jack DeJohnette's New Directions, David Liebman's Lookout Farm, etc.). These three dates also represent an important foundation for Abercrombie as a composer.
When one considers the instrumentation (alto, piano and guitar) and the personnel (Bob Mover, Paul Bley and John Abercrombie), it is not surprising that this date is full of thoughtful, chance-taking and often lyrical improvisations. Most of the selections are either duets or unaccompanied solos, and although there are some melodies, the music was pretty much all improvised on the spot. An intriguing set.
John Abercrombie Quartet: Up and Coming Starting the new year with, if not precisely a bang, a nevertheless unforgettable record whose strength lies in pristine lyricism, nuanced group interplay and writing that capitalizes on the entire quartet's appreciation of subtlety over gymnastics and refined lyricism over angularity, John Abercrombie's Up and Coming—ECM's first release of the year—is also founded strongly on the concept of relationship.