Lyrical Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie's Quartet at Birdland
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The last date listed for John Abercrombie Quartet was Thursday October 1, 2009 / 11:00pm.
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John Abercrombie began playing the guitar at the age of 14. He enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, working with other students and playing local clubs and bars. An offer to tour with organist Johnny Hammond led to his going on the road, playing such spots as Count Basie’s Lounge and the Club Baron in Harlem. During that period, Abercrombie met the Brecker Brothers, who were in the process of forming Dreams. They invited Abercrombie to play with them, and he was heard on the Dreams’ debut album on Columbia.
In 1969, following graduation from Berklee, Abercrombie headed to New York. Over the next few years he developed into one of New York’s most in-demand session musicians. He recorded with Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, Barry Miles and many other artists, and also became a regular with Chico Hamilton’s group.
It was as the guitarist in Billy Cobham’s band that Abercrombie first began attracting widespread attention among the general public. This ensemble was something of a Dreams reunion since it also featured the Brecker Brothers. Abercrombie can be heard on Cobham’s Crosswinds, Total Eclipse and Shabazz albums. He began playing large concert halls and arenas, on bills with such top rock attractions as the Doobie Brothers.
A short time later, at the Montreux Festival, Abercrombie ran into Manfred Eicher, who invited him to record an album for ECM, The result was Timeless, on which he was joined by Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette. It received virtually unanimous critical acclaim. Gateway (1975) marked the first collaborative effort of Abercrombie with DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland. A second Gateway recording was released in 1978. In 1979, Abercrombie formed his own quartet, which included pianist Richie Beirach, bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald. The group has made three recordings: Arcade, Abercrombie Quartet, and M.
Abercrombie has also recorded with many other ECM artists; the most significant collaborations must surely be with drummer Jack DeJohnette (Abercrombie appears on all of DeJohnotte’s Directions and Now Directions albums) and with fellow guitarist Ralph Towner. _Abercrombie and __Towners Sargasso Sea_ was released in 1976 and Five Years Later in 1982.
Abercrombie’s touring trio with Mark Johnson and Peter Erskine is heard on Current Events, Getting There (with frequent guest Michael Brecker) and John Abercrombie/Marc Johnson/Peter Erskine. On the 1990 release Animato, John collaborates with composer/synthesist, Vince Mendoza and drummer John Christensen, and presents eight original compositions.
John’s affinity for jazz standards complements his role as an active clinician and teacher. He possesses a unique voice as a jazz guitarist combining evolving technologies with a tradition well represented by jazz standards.