January 2017: Best Jazz Album

Up and Coming by John Abercrombie Quartet

Guerino’s rating: 7/10. This graceful album by jazz-rock pioneer John Abercrombie is the perfect companion for these winter nights. I enjoy the nice balance between the delicate melodies and Abercrombie’s signature guitar phrasing.

Some information about the disc:

  • It’s the second album recorded by John Abercrombie with this lineup (John Abercrombie – guitar, Marc Copland – piano, Drew Gress – double bass, Joey Baron – drums). The first album of this quartet was recorded in 2013 (39 steps).
  • Collaboration between Abercrombie and “pianist” Marc Copland dates back to 1996 when the duo published the album Second Look, followed by other three LPs played together.
  • Marc Copland’s career began as saxophonist. In the early 1970s he grew dissatisfied with what he felt were the inherent limitations of the saxophone and trained himself for a decade to become a jazz pianist.
  • Joey Baron plays the drums on most of the last Abercrombie’s album. This collaboration started more than 15 years ago and, as such, Baron is very familiar with Abercrombie’s guitar style and improvisation.
  • Seven of the eight tracks of the album are original (Abercrombie/Copland), one song is a cover of Miles Davis’ Nardis (1958).
  • With its 47′, Up and Coming is one of the shortest albums by Abercrombie.
  • This is ECM’s first record of 2017.

From All Music GuideUp and Coming compositional and improvisational economy is countered by the quartet’s disciplined ability to colorfully and authoritatively illustrate an abundance of creative ideas without even hinting at compromise.

From All About Jazz: Abercrombie’s guitar and Copland’s piano do not always make for comfortable bedfellows, as the potential for stepping on each other’s toes, harmonically speaking, is always a risk; but one of Abercrombie and Copland’s greatest combined strengths is their ability to listen and intuit.

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