John Abercrombie: The Cat's Back


The Cat's Back


John Abercrombie (guitar)


November (ECM 1502)

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

Composed by John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Marc Johnson & John Surman


Recorded: Oslo, Sweden, November 1992


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

This track is less a song than a musical conversation among masters. After Abercrombie begins the dialogue, the Great Brit Surman responds tentatively at first, like adversaries sizing up each other. Once Johnson and Erskine enter with a hurried pulse, the chase is on. Surman takes the lead with his lyrical bass clarinet while Abercrombie is content to summon a few blues-rock snippets that punctuate the horn player's increasingly urgent notes. Eventually that bass clarinet takes on a more sorrowful tone, and the rhythm section takes heed, bringing the proceedings down to a soft landing. "The Cat's Back" is a bell curve of intensity, but one created out of spontaneity and cohesion.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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