The Artists - John Abercrombie

John Abercrombie – American guitar player, composer, band leader and teacher, born Dec 16 1944 in Port Chester, New York - was part of Prize Winner Enrico Rava's JAZZPAR 2002 Sextet.

Abercrombie began imitating Chuck Berry guitar licks at 14 and later enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He met the Brecker Brothers who were in the process of forming a jazz-rock hybrid of far-reaching influence. Abercrombie performed on Dreams’ debut album.
   Abercrombie graduated in 1969 and soon became one of New York’s most in-demand session musicians. He played with Billy Cobham’s group Spectrum and attracted widespread attention. But it was ECM albums, like “Timeless” and “Gateway”, in the mid-70s that really received critical acclaim.
   Abercrombie formed a quartet including pianist Richie Beirach, bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald, which made three recordings. Other significant recordings are drummer Jack DeJohnette’s Directions and New Directions albums and the releases with fellow guitarist Ralph Towner. The list goes on: The “sixth-sense interaction” trio with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine. Trios and sometimes a quartet seem to be Abercrombie’s favored formats as a leader. As a sideman he has made important imprints recording with Joe Lovano.
   Abercrombie enjoys jazz standards – he knows them well and feels free playing them. He has also combined tradition and evolving technologies thereby expanding musical boundaries. He used guitar synthesizer in the 80s and has recorded with the composer and synthesizer player Vince Mendoza.
   Three hugely experienced musicians, The Gateway trio of Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnnette, reunited in 94 and performed with dazzling ease on two releases.
   Abercrombie is a durable artist – there is often more to his playing than reaches the ear first time around. He uses his thumb in a post Wes Montgomery style and may perform evocative modern jazz with influences from Jim Hall and Tal Farlow. His playing ranges from light, upbeat, buoyant and dancing to hard-edged, howling, dynamic and explosive.

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