John Abercrombie: J.S.




John Abercrombie (guitar)


November (ECM 1502 78118 21502-2)

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John Abercrombie (guitar),

John Surman (soprano & baritone saxes, bass clarinet), Marc Johnson (bass), Peter Erskine (drums)


Composed by John Abercrombie


Recorded: Oslo, Norway November 1992


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Like Claude Monet’s use of colors, John Abercrombie makes musical statements throughout his album November that are only hinted at through the careful use of his palette. In this wistful ballad, the poignant baritone sax of the impeccable John Surman leads us to a tale of calm searching and beautiful discovery. In such a texturally subtle piece, Abercrombie’s masterful use of his hollow-sounding chording perfectly complements the flawless tone of Surman’s deep-throated horn, whose soulful sound is the ideal carrier of the song’s haunting melody. Despite his ability to shred, Abercrombie’s restraint here is a testament his remarkable musicianship. His solo is at once imaginative and yet brilliantly understated. Marc Johnson’s bass is equally moving in its deft, economical contributions to the delicately balanced canvas of these marvelously intuitive musicians. The song is almost invisibly motivated by the superb brush and trap work of the telepathic Peter Erskine, whose ability to be subtle yet clearly present is almost without peer. The more one listens, the more one can visualize the elegant pictures so inventively painted by these sonic artists. This is a tour de force of musical imagery.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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