Monday, August 20, 2012

John Abercrombie Within A Song - Album of the year nominee 2012

There are times when the standard review is a literary exercise in futility. While jazz musicians are notorious for "borrowing" phrases from each other on occasion, critics have stock phrases they often use to do their own riffs. For me, you never review genius but you do honor it. The latest and for me arguably his finest work to date is Within A Song, a release that pays tribute to the impact and sound of Jim Hall who is considered to be the father of modern jazz guitar. Abercrombie also takes time to honor the creative genius of those artists whose work had a profound influence on his style and methodology and he is perhaps the next evolutionary step in modern jazz guitar since Jim Hall.  

Within A Song celebrates the golden era of jazz that was the 1960's and gives us a keen insight into his musical DNA. The artists that touched Abercrombie covered here include Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Jim Hall. Within A Song is far more than a cover recording but is instead Abercrombie's own unique harmonic exploratory including some new tunes especially written for this project. I refer to a harmonic exploratory as some reharmonization was done to some melodies but in such a way that Abercrombie leaves his own indelible mark. Melodies are not mangled but managed and elevated in such an inventive fashion that the true artistic brilliance of this artist and formidable 4tet takes center stage.

A 5 Star recording. A flawless release.

Where Are You
Easy Reader
Within A Song / Without A Song
Flamenco Sketches
Nick Of Time
Blues Connotation
Wise One
Sometime Ago

John Abercrombie Quartet
Within A Song

John Abercrombie guitar
Joe Lovano tenor saxophone
Drew Gress double-bass
Joey Baron drums

The link below is from an interview I had with John Abercrombie a few weeks ago. My sincere thanks to John Abercrombie for his time and for ECM Records and their help. ECM Records was voted label of the year for 2012 by the Jazz Journalist Association!