John Abercrombie

Gateway: Homecoming

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The trio heard on this CD (guitarist John Abercrombie, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Jack DeJohnette) recorded Gateway and Gateway 2 for ECM back in 1975 and 1977. Although each of the musicians have grown musically since that time and have piled up plenty of accomplishments, the style of music that they perform when they come together as Gateway has remained largely unchanged. One could call it "creative fusion" or "post bop"; whatever the name, the music's success depends on a great deal of intuitive interplay between the talented players. John Abercrombie's often-distorted tone and use of color show hints of Bill Frisell (who must have learned from the example of the older guitarist). Dave Holland's bass is never predictable nor subservient to Abercrombie, and, even if the other musicians were allowed to coast, Jack DeJohnette's constantly rumbling drumming would keep the performers from ever getting too comfortable. Although the original music (which concludes with a quiet piece for DeJohnette's piano) is not for all jazz fans (Abercrombie's rockish sound may scare some off), the high improvisational level makes this a set deserving of close listens.