Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson, Peter Erskine|
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
A Masterpiece by a Virtuoso at the Peak of His Powers
Stephen Silberman | SF, CA USA | 05/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Guitarist John Abercrombie has recorded dozens of albums in varying configurations, but "Current Events" is one of his very best. His playing on each of the range of styles represented here -- from the muted, straight-ahead swing of "Alice in Wonderland," to the perky guitar-synth explorations of "Hippityville," to the hauntingly lyrical meditation of "Still" -- would be a career peak for most other guitarists. With the top-notch accompaniment of Marc Johnson on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, Abercrombie often sounds like a guitar player plus a keyboardist here, but the synth-tones he's using on this album are warm and organic-sounding, unlike the more tart, puckered flavors that have infiltrated his playing in recent years.
It's truly a shame that Abercrombie is not more widely known among the general jazz public. John Scofield has been able to package himself more successfully, but is not nearly as versatile or lyrical a player; Bill Frisell is brilliant, but Abercrombie has maintained a standard of outright beauty across an astonishing range of music that none of his peers can touch. He's a national treasure."
Late summer sunset: still still still
Steve Wyzard | Lomita, CA | 09/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've come to this album looking for John Abercrombie's high-intensity howling guitar-playing, you're in for a great disappointment. If, however, you are interested in his gifts as a composer, an interpreter, a technological innovator, and an atmosphere-and-mood-creator par excellence, this album is a must-have. Released in 1986, Current Events is not only one of Abercrombie's greatest albums/performances EVER, but also one of the very best albums released by ECM Records in the entire decade.
There's an autumnal melancholy hanging over this album, but it never descends into sentimentality or nostalgia. With the exception of "Killing Time" (an over-the-top improv freak-out), it's mostly calm and peaceful without becoming a soundtrack for massage therapy or a new age healing center. It's nothing at all like Abercrombie's disappointing previous (1984) album, Night. Most will comment on the extensive use of the guitar synthesizer on songs like "Clint" and "Hippityville" - a quirky pattern is laid down, add Peter Erskine's solid drums and amazing cymbal work, add Marc Johnson's rumbling, adventuresome bass-playing, build slowly and solo on top. Abercrombie's acoustic playing is featured on "Lisa" and "Ralph's Piano Waltz" (originally recorded on the 1975 fusion classic Timeless).
The two performances that make this album one of the greats are also the two longest. The second song, Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard's "Alice in Wonderland" (yes, the Disney one, also covered by Bill Evans) opens with 1-1/2 minutes of the most hauntingly beautiful guitar playing you will ever hear. Johnson solos over Erskine's brush work and you have a very unlikely masterpiece. Album-closer "Still" is built on a mesmerizing, repeating cadence - close your eyes and you're in a vast, solemn cathedral listening to chords on the pipe organ. Johnson (bass) and Abercrombie (acoustic guitar) both have their say before it fades into nothingness. The effect is absolutely unforgetable, embedding itself in the memory long after it's over. Still indeed.
Give John Abercrombie credit for departing from expectations and giving us something truly different and memorable. He would continue with the guitar synthesizer, and with Johnson and Erskine for the rest of the 1980s, but never came close to matching the atmospheres captured on Current Events. While some will dismiss this as an experiment gone wrong or "mindless noodling", I for one am thankful he was willing to take chances, and we have this album today.