the excellent John Abercrombie has long been a stalwart of the ECM canon,he has an impressive back catakogue,so it was with excitement that i approached this release. 1)"Where are you"a lovely piece of playing concerned,particularly by Joe Lovano,this bodes well for the rest of the album. 2)"Easy rider" An Abercrombie original,beautifully played,this is reminiscent of Pat Metheny in his quieter moments. 3)"Within a song/without a song"another Abercrombie original which fuses into part two which iscomposed by Vincent Youmans and Billy Rose,the most upbeat excursion so far. 4)"Flamenco sketches"written by Miles Davis an evocotive piece of music,bringing to mind the wonderful Iberian way of life. 5)"Nick of time" continuing with another original,this is sublime. 6)"Blues connotation"A six minute version of the Ornette Coleman composition,this is so laid back,it is comatised! 7)"Wise one"written by the mighty John Coltraine,by far,at nine minutes long,the best track on the album. 8)"Interplay"composed by Bill Evans is just so good they're showing off now!! 9)"Sometime ago"I have never heard this song before,but if all his tunes are this good,i shall be exploring the tunes of Sergio Mihanovich more,absolutely superb.
John Abercrombie and the rest of the band have recorded an album of subtlty and beauty,i urge you to buy this album.
RECORDED IN 2O11
RELEASED IN 2012
JOHN ABERCROMBIE.....GUITAR JOE LOVANO......TENOR SAXOPHONE DREW GRESS.....DOUBLE BASS JOEY BARON.....DRUMS
VALUE FOR MONEY**** PACKAGING.....ORDINARY PLASTIC CASE WITH BOOKLET BEST TRACKS.....WISE ONE(BUT ALL OF THE TRACKS ARE EXCELLENT,THERE IS NOT A BAD OR BELOW PAR TRACK)
When George Harrison was talking "about the space between us all/and the people who hide themselves" he could have been describing John Abercrombie, one of the least exuberant but most rewarding musicians around. After a long and successful association with violinist Mark Feldman, Abercrombie returns with a quartet with old friends Lovano on saxophone, Gress on double bass and Baron on drums.
Joining the celebratory feel of Steve Kuhn's "Mostly Coltrane" and Arild Andersen's recent "Celebtration", "Within a Song" sees Abercrombie paying homage to, amongst others, Coltrane, Coleman and Davis to considerable effect.
"Wise One" is beautiful with Abercrombie's keening guitar full of yearning but I cannot see myself consciously wanting to hear this version rather than Coltran'e flawless original from one of his most overlooked albums "Crescent". By comparison "Blues Connotation", the opening track from Coleman's "This is Our Music" is more successful in creating something new. There is a rich history of Coleman covers by ECM artists such as Bobo Stenson and "Blues Connotation" conveys aome of the restlessness of the original with a sense of calm as Abercrombie wisely does not seek to replicate the two horn attack and interplay of Coleman and Cherry. Finally "Flamenco Blues" is a yet more radical working of another firmament in the jazz canon and may be the most interesting track on the album. Lovano's tone is instantly identifiable from the opening notes of Where are you and Gress and Baron provide sympathetic, low key but propulsive support. Highly recommended.
At first, this recording might sound a bit lame. Anyway, if it does, repeated exposure might very well do that away. _That_ happened to me, but...
The standard that begins the disc [Where Are You] is an understated, low-profile number, driven forward by Joey Baron's soft and simple-yet-colourful brush accompaniment, which might fool you to believe that this is the mood of the rest of the recording. As much as there _is_ a general mood of almost sleepy, either slow or mid-tempo pieces throughout, it gets more lively towards the end. Gress' first, decently good bass solo is situated nevertheless in the beginning (third piece), but the drum solo is near the end of the disc and is somehow good.
The biggest minus point of this recording is that you would have expected a bit more of _these_ performers. All four are considered as seasoned masters of their instruments, capable of virtuosity, but Joe Lovano is the only one here who gets to the highest standard. Luckily, he gets to play a lot, therefore 4 stars.
I believe the old saying - about a [jazz] musical whole being as good as its drummer - gets good here: Joey Baron is the driving force who more or less dictates the overall energy level of a piece. Bill Evans' tune Interplay is probably the best performance here, thanks to Baron's lively-to-this-standard comping. Also Coltrane's Wise One is very good, though very different.
Despite the flaws, this _is_ a good recording - of a calmest and most restful mood possible.