Sunday, March 16, 2014

John Abercrombie Quartet 39 Steps ECM 2013

A free styled sophistication of harmonic bliss...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
A retooled quartet has John Abercrombie and friends entrenched in a lyrical exploratory of deconstructed works that allow this collective to function as a singular unit. Intimate and introspective, this ballad driven release moves well past the point of predictability with tunes that are lyrical focused while reaching past the expectations of those familiar with Abercrombie's legendary catalog. Pianist Marc Copland contributes two tunes to John's six but the addition of Copland has this formidable 4tet reaching a spatial sound that while inventive and fresh is still part of the harmonic calling card that is John Abercrombie.
 
39 Steps succeeds as most would expect thanks largely in part to Abercrombie's non conformist attitude to meter and harmony. An eclectic yet wildly accessible sound that is deceptively subtle while attacking the cerebral senses when least expected. To go into a lengthy dissertation on 39 Steps would be a waste of my energy and your time. An elegant sophistication with a hint of contemporary flair, John Abercrombie is the natural evolution of modern jazz guitar. 39 Steps is about as close to the perfect guitar release as one can get. You never review genius, you honor it.
Humor me...
Tracks: Vertigo; LST; Bacharach; Greetstreet; As It Stands; Spellbound; Another Ralph's; Shadow Of A Doubt; 39 Steps; Melancholy Baby.
 
John Abercrombie: guitar
Marc Copland: piano
Drew Gress: double bass
Joey Baron: drums