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Five Years Later

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Jan. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,220 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Sargasso Sea in 1976 was the debut duo disc of great American guitarists Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie. On their follow-up recording Five Years Later - and it did come in 1981 - their improvisations draw on a wider sonic palette, to telling effect. That recording is now being re-issued for the first time on CD, simultaneously with a 180g vinyl version.

"Something special happens when they play together" observed Robert Palmer in the New York Times, and the participants concurred. "Playing with John is one of my favourite things to do," said Ralph Towner. "I can play as much as when playing solo, and still get to ply my skills as accompanist. John is such an amazing person to play with that, even when he's playing intensely or aggressively, we somehow fit together and there's really no way that we could collide."

At the beginning of 2014, ECM issues seven important recordings from its back catalogue, all in 180g vinyl and CD, most of which have been out of stock for many years. For both CD and LP versions, the original analog recordings are issued in deluxe cardboard sleeves.

Personnel: John Abercrombie (acoustic and electric guitars, electric 12-string guitar, mandolin guitar), Ralph Towner (12-string and classical guitars)

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This is a great record, which I bought at the time on vinyl and I'm delighted that ECM has finally re-released it on CD. The recording is a wonderful mixture of space, light and echo and the blending of acoustic, classical and electric guitars is masterful. The standout track for me in terms of performance, composition, sound and improvisation is The Juggler's Etude which was originally a classical guitar study written by Ralph Towner. It's a magical piece of music played with verve and brio and I love it! Just for the record I heard John Abercrombie this week in a duo with Marc Copland and the same lyrical, slightly mysterious, spacious improvisation is still there. They play harmonious and melodic lines and it all intricately fits together in a luminous sound world. I also saw Ralph Towner do a solo classical guitar gig a couple of years back and he too was sounding awesome, performing and improvising on all his own beautiful compositions. So, I can highly recommend the album and the live gigs of both of these fine musicians - do go and hear them if you get the chance.
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Fabulous stuff from two guitar masters. This and Sargasso Sea are two brilliant examples of superior guitar duetting. Intricate and melodic at the same time. Unmissable!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e2de0fc) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f246e90) out of 5 stars Wonderful recording but sadly, only available on vinyl 8 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Only one other review on 'Five Years Later' besides mine. How sad that another ECM masterpiece gets ignored. As far as I know this recording has never been released to CD or MP3. The first collaboration album of Abercrombie and Towner was with 'Sargasso Sea', released in 1976. Five years later after 'Sargasso Sea, this album was released. Vinyl is the only format that this piece can be listened. Fortunately I have a great vinyl music setup. I agree that 'Five Years Later' is better than 'Sargasso Sea'. This is great music, sublime and interesting and well performed. The ECM Euro-Jazz genre has fallen out of favor. This music has a small following to begin with. The fact that this piece is only available on vinyl narrows the audience even more. It's more than a shame. It's a crime. One more comment to my review, I went through the trouble of buying two copies of this LP. That should tell you how strongly I feel about 'Five Years Later'.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By James K. Stewart - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When ECM recording artists John Abercrombie & Ralph Towner were touring back in the 70's to promote their album
"Sargasso Sea", I was fortunate to see their extraordinary sold-out show on the UK campus in Lexington, Kentucky.
I still fondly recall watching them both in deep concentration with their flawless precision and magnificent technique.
At LONG last, ECM has issued on cd the staggeringly beautiful 1981 followup "Five Years Later" by John Abercrombie
and Ralph Towner to their classic 1976 ECM duo recording "Sargasso Sea". Issued as part of ECM's new "Re:solution"
series, "Five Years Later" is also now available on vinyl and as a download, all with fabulous remastered clarity. I've
had a mint vinyl copy of "Five Years" since the early 80's and have hoped for years ECM would release it on cd. I've
seen it on countless "cd request" lists for a long time and now it's happened. I really can't say which one of the two
duo recordings is my favorite - they're both classic ECM landmark releases. Along with acoustic and electric guitars,
which Abercrombie played on "Sargasso Sea", he also plays electric 12-string guitar & mandolin guitar, while Towner
performs again on 12-string and classical guitars, but no piano as on "Sargasso Sea". There are eight pieces on "Five
Years Later" with three, "Late Night Passenger", "Microthema", & "Bumabia", written by both Towner and Abercrombie.
Towner composed two tunes, "Half Past Two" and "The Juggler's Etude", that feature himself and Abercrombie in total
acoustic duo performances. As on "Sargasso Sea", their musical empathy is remarkable. Towner contributes one more
piece, "Caminata", that is the shortest on the recording at just over three minutes and features overdubbed shadows
on electric guitar in brilliant fashion. The final two compositions, "Isla" and "Child's Play", which closes out the release,
were written by Abercrombie. "Child's Play" always reminds me of John's 1978 ECM solo guitar recording, "Characters",
which is highly regarded in his catalog. With "Five Years Later", John Abercrombie & Ralph Towner once more created
a multi-dimensional, atmospheric work with stellar acoustic & electric guitar interplay that always rewards with a rich
listening experience. As on their earlier "Sargasso Sea", they are brilliant shapers of sonic images with great depth and
beauty. "Five Years Later", as well, was beautifully recorded by the legendary Jan Erik Kongshaug at Talent Studios in
Oslo, Norway and produced by ECM founder/owner Manfred Eicher who we can thank for the cd release of "Five Years
Later". A timeless and haunting work-of-art from two guitar masters that sounds better than ever now on cd. If only
they could somehow tour near my area again. Thanks for the memories, John and Ralph.

P.S. Just recently read where John's classic 1979 ECM quartet release "Arcade" will be
released with his other two ECM quartet albums "Abercrombie Quartet" from 1980 and
"M" from 1981 in a 3 cd boxset from ECM later this year. "Arcade", in particular, is long
overdue for a domestic cd release, as the Japanese import version is out-of-print, rare,
and very expensive to find - it's been on many cd-wish lists (including mine) for years.
It's another landmark, classic ECM masterpiece & one of Abercrombie's finest releases.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f24731c) out of 5 stars Thanks ECM. What took you so long? 9 Mar. 2014
By D.R.S. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was overjoyed to find that ECM finally woke up and released this gem on CD. 32 years was a long wait but now somehow seems worth it. It makes the music even sweeter, I guess. These two virtuosi are my favorite jazz guitarists and together their music's sum is greater then it's parts ... a kind of magic, if you will. It has been my pleasure to see both John and Ralph play, although not together, mores the pity. I am hoping that this reissue might inspire them to do a third full scale collaboration. A promotional tour would be pure joy. Are you listening guys? I know it's tough with your respective schedules especially with Ralph living in Italy but time is fleeting. No regrets!
One of the other reviewers stated that "Five Years Later" is better then "Sargasso Sea" and I agree in the sense that it is richer in texture and a little more sophisticated. However, it's difficult to compare rubies to emeralds. Both are breath taking.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2474c0) out of 5 stars Favor it over Sargasso Sea 22 Sept. 2013
By Hammer + Jazz - Published on
Much as i'm fond of Sargasso Sea , my ear was bent owing to numerous listens to this follow up project over several days . Starting lovely enough with both Ralph and John on acoustic guitars , the first song also has a very discreet underpinning of john's super judiciously treated electric .
This gives way to a very pretty all acoustic number with it's primary themes played in precision unison . The duel acoustics may remind many of Friday Night In San Francisco courtesy of several "other" like minded acoustic masters .
Then things really start to get interesting . I'm an enormous fan of both musicians and have heard a great deal of their work (solo and otherwise) . I've never heard Ralph play his guitar as percussively as he will begin to going forward . Laying a lengthy bed here for John to skitter over on modestly amplified guitar as a stone across a crystal water . Both musicians do rhythmic things in order to complement the other fellow's playing that are deeply rewarding and advanced .
I posit that this is , indeed , the preferential meeting of the five years in question . It's at least as desirable . Check it "in" .
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2474d8) out of 5 stars Guitar Jazz duo of dreams 9 Mar. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Not often one comes across duo performance on classical and electric guitar. In this instance two giants meet for the second time five years later after their debut "Sargasso Sea" and they don't disappoint.

This top quality performance of somewhat subdued rhythm, but full of beauty and lyricism, will uplift you with its exuberance and optimism. Add to that uncanny production quality, ECM label is famous for, and you have a winner. As one reviewer noted "Something special happens when they play together".

Recorded in 1981 this historical album is reissued by label in January 2014 together with other notable music under ECM Re_solutions "The story of our listening" series, cut and mastered from original analog sources and issued simultaneously in three media formats - as 180 gram vinyl album, as CD, and as high-resolution 96/24 download files, the later being my choice format.
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