With the sad news earlier this week of the passing of Jazz guitar legend John Abercrombie, I realize we now have the next generation of influential Jazz artists leaving us – the ones who came after the founders and originators. I haven’t spent a lot of time posting artists of the post-60s crop of musicians; the ones who came into prominence during the 1970s and later, but their contributions to the evolution and furtherance of Contemporary Jazz have been just as vital and influential.
John Abercrombie began in the early 70s as a much in-demand session player, and collaborating with Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans and many others, before making a name for himself with The Brecker Brothers and Billy Cobham. In the early 70s he secured his first (and only) label deal, with the iconic ECM Records and that began a relationship which lasted all the way until his death earlier this week. In fact, his last album, Up And Coming, was issued only earlier this year. All told, Abercrombie has released some 38 albums as leader or co-leader, and an astonishing 73 albums as sideman/collaborator. An impressive and important legacy preserved.
For those of you not familiar with the work of John Abercrombie, this gig is very representative of his style; understated, spare and eclectic. Working in a seamless fashion, bringing all the elements together as if by magic – but with method.
The loss of John Abercrombie is hard – his style and presence have been felt in many aspects of the current crop of Jazz musicians and the new directions Jazz has been taking in recent years. The evolution of Jazz continues, and with practitioners like John Abercrombie, it’s been in good hands.
Enjoy, and blessings for the beautiful ride.