Born: 1944, Port Chester, NY

John Abercrombie is one of the top modern jazz guitarists. He began playing when he was fourteen. After high school he enrolled at Boston's Berklee School of Music.

An offer to tour with organist Johnny Hammond Smith led to his going on the road for weeks at a time, playing such spots as Count Basie's Lounge and the Club Baron in Harlem. During that same period, Abercrombie met the Brecker Brothers who were in the process of forming Dreams. They invited Abercrombie to play with them, and he was heard on Dreams' dubut album on Columbia.

In 1969, following graduation, Abercrombie decided to head South in hopes of breaking into the New York music scene He did record dates with Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, Barry Miles and became a regular with Chico Hamilton's group.

It was as the guitarist in Billy Cobham's band that Abercrombie first began attracting widespread attention among the general public. This ensemble was something of a Dreams reunion since it also included the Brecker Brothers. Abercrombie is heard on Cobham's "Crosswinds", "Total eclipse" and "Shabazz" album.

In 1979, Abercrombie formed his own quartet which included pianist Richie Beirach, bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald. The group has made three recordings: Arcade, Abercrombie Quartet and M.
Ambercrombie has toured or recorded with a variety of musicians including Jan Hamer, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and the Doobie Brothers.


Once in listening-preparation for a lecture at Harvard University , where John surveyed the history of jazz guitar, he explained: "When I'm playing tunes like 'Autumn Leaves' or 'Stella By Starlight', as much as I've played those tunes over the years, I still enjoy playing them. And because I know them so well, I'm very free with them. I'm just as free with them as when I'm playing with no chords at all. That, to me, is free jazz".

Further insight into music comes forth in a 1988 "Jazziz" interview: "Carrying the tradition of jazz guitar from Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt to the present day is a very important aspect of my music...I'd like people to perceive me as having a direct connection to the history of jazz guitar, while expanding some musical boundaries which may not always involve the guitar itself".

JOHN ABERCROMBIE - Selected Discography

As leader
M
Abercrombie Quartet
Arcade
Characters
Timeless
with others
Ralph Towner/John Abercrombie: Five Years later
Jan Garbarek: Eventyr
Jack DeJonette: New Directions live in Europe
Gateway: Gateway
Towner/Abercrombie: Sargasso Sea
Jack DeJohnette Directions: New Directions; New Rags; Untitled
Collin Walcott: Grazing Dreams; Cloud Dance
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some info for this node taken from the European Jazz Network

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