John Abercrombie: Dansir
John Abercrombie (guitar)
Class Trip (ECM 1846 B0002289-02)
John Abercrombie (guitar),
Mark Feldman (violin), Marc Johnson (bass), Joey Baron (drums).
Composed by John Abercrombie.
Recorded: New York, February 2003
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Since the late 1960s, guitarist John Abercrombie has been a fixture. He was in the band Dreams, one of the earliest jazz-rock hybrid combos, along with Billy Cobham. In 1974 he released the very important fusion record Timeless, featuring Jack DeJohnette and Jan Hammer. Abercrombie went on to successfully play with the Brecker Brothers as well. Over the years, he has performed with many of the finest jazz players. More recently he has put out three quartet albums featuring violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron; Class Trip was the second.
ECM albums still have their own distinct sound, which for some reason was easier to describe a couple of decades ago. Today I would describe the fusion music that appears on the label as "tasteful fusion." This band plays a type of fusion that includes no distortion. That is how I characterize Abercrombie's guitar playing, too. On the intro, he deftly plays Middle Eastern scales over Baron's restrained cymbal work and Johnson's accented bass. Feldman joins in to seamlessly play the introspective melody in unison with Abercrombie. The theme is international in scope, part Middle Eastern jazz and part Gypsy folk song. Feldman and Abercrombie engage in some understated calls and responses. A slight carnatic feel appears, but soon disappears as Abercrombie takes a Western blues-influenced solo. Johnson too offers a worthwhile exploration. The folk nature returns to carry us home after touring the world in first-class luxury. "Dansir" is a wonderful performance from a quartet with fine taste and the ability to present it.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky