The following is an excerpt from a recent article I wrote for All About Jazz:
Guitarist John Abercrombie has long been a stalwart artist for Manfred Eicher’s ECM Records, steadily releasing albums as a leader since 1975’s fusion masterpiece Timeless (ECM). A true guitar virtuoso, Abercrombie’s adaptability and dexterous command over his instrument have secured his exalted rank within the jazz realm and beyond. Now, over 40 years after his debut, Abercrombie’s inventiveness shows no signs of diminishing as he has kicked off 2017 with a new album for ECM, Up and Coming.
Up and Coming captures the second meeting between the quartet found on 2013’s sublime 39 Steps (ECM)—an album which marked Abercrombie’s return to a piano-driven ensemble which he first utilized in the late ’70s with Richie Beirach, George Mraz, and Peter Donald. Consisting of pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Joey Baron, 39 Steps was proof that Abercrombie assembled a captivating group teeming with musical prowess that is further augmented on Up and Coming.