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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four out of Five, 27 July 2007
This review is from: The Third Quartet (Audio CD)
"Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing/The silent withering of autumn flowers".
It is a reasonable assumption that John Abercrombie did not have to mind these words of T.S.Elliot, from "Dry Salvages", the third of his "Four Quartets" when he recorded his latest, impressive, offering with his quartet, so inopportune are the sentiments. Perhaps more so than "Cat and Mouse" and "Class Trip", "the Third Quartet" is understated and, at first listen, unremarkable but repeated listens reveal the synthesis of Abercrombie's two main inspirations, namely lyricism and free improvisation, and the uniqueness of his guitar, violin, bass and drums quartet.

Opener "Banshee" is the wildest number and shows the Jekyll and Hyde aspects to Abercrombie is the space of a single song. The most obvious signs of these inspirations are the two covers, which are both highlight. Ornette Coleman's "Round Trip" swings like nothing else on the disc and Mark Feldman's violin in Bill Evans's "Epilogue" has an almost Japanese tone in its serenity. Although all four musicians are highly skilled, the versatile Feldman is probably the dominant force here.

Having started in restless, percussive but atmospheric fashion with scrapings of violin and peels of electic guitar, the album concludes with the peaceful "Fine", featuring overdubbed guitar reminiscent of Ralph Towner. As others have recorded, it is sometimes difficult identifying why Abercrombie's recent work is so good. And although it does not demand attention, it is very impressive in its understated way.
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The Third Quartet
The Third Quartet by John Abercrombie (Audio CD - 2008)
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