John Abercrombie: Number 9


Number 9


John Abercrombie (guitar)


The Third Quartet (ECM 1993)

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John Abercrombie (guitar),

Mark Feldman (violin), Marc Johnson (bass), Joey Baron (drums)


Composed by John Abercrombie


Recorded: New York, June 2006


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

In a 2007 interview discussing his then brand-new CD, John Abercrombie said that he named this composition "Number 9" simply because "it's nine measures long." He also said, "This ballad just seemed to play itself. I sat down one day at the piano, and within five minutes, the tune was finished." A more appropriate title for this tune might have been "After Nefertiti," or "Another Ode to a Queen," or perhaps just "Thanks, Wayne." A 7-note segment of the theme comes right out of Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti," but apparently (and surprisingly) Abercrombie never noticed.

Regardless, "Number 9" is one of the CD's best tracks. Feldman plays the winsome theme twice in this out-of-tempo arrangement. Abercrombie then engages in a gracefully subdued melodic embellishment based on the tune's harmonic structure. Feldman follows in a similar vein, but with more intense feeling, while sounding at times like Regina Carter. Abercrombie returns to play the theme as Feldman's tremolo provides moving counterpoint. The violinist then takes over for his own soothing and heartfelt reiteration of the pretty melody. The essence of "Nefertiti" is never far from the surface, but despite this, or because of it, "Number 9" is a lovely ballad performance.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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