John Abercrombie Quartet


Within a Song ECM****

The names on the back cover will be all the inducement most ECM regulars need. If not, the theme will clinch it. Guitarist John Abercrombie has been one of the most thoughtful and least exhibitionist improvisers of the post-bop era. Now, with a trio of master musicians – saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron – he delves back into his roots, re-examining the work of the musicians who inspired him.

Unlike some, as he wryly comments in his accompanying note, Abercrombie remembers the 1960s clearly. It was the time when musicians like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Jim Hall were taking be-bop in new directions, giving those of Abercrombie’s generation, in his words, “a place to live”. Each of them is celebrated here, but the guitarist still manages to make a record that is very much his own, his feather-light touch coaxing intense creativity out of his bandmates.