Monday, 28 August 2017
John Abercrombie & Ralph Towner - Sargasso Sea/Five Years Later (1976/1982)
Oh well, I did say on Friday that normal service would be resumed on Monday for this blog... and if normal service now means bidding sad farewells to artists whose music has meant so much to me, then so be it. John Laird Abercrombie was born in Port Chester, NY to Scottish immigrants, and after a lifetime crafting an instantly identifiable guitar signature, has passed at age 72. Having neglected to pick up his latest album at the beginning of this year due to other musical obsessions, I'm definitely going to do so now, but for today here's my two favourites of Abercrombie's career, both in the company of ECM labelmate Ralph Towner. Previously posted at SGTG: the completely solo Characters, and Jack DeJohnette's Pictures.
Sargasso Sea was recorded in May 1976, and proved a genius pairing of two of ECM's rising stars right from the start. Ralph Towner's silky 12-string overlaid with Abercrombie's liquid electric lead makes for a stunning album opener, with the eight minutes of Fable scoping out the breadth of their melodic talents and virtuoso skill, as would the title track and the explosive Elbow Room. Elsewhere, we get the sublime sound of both guitarists going acoustic in a melding of their individual styles, and even some occasional piano from Towner, most notably in the gorgeous closer Parasol.
RIP John, and thanks for all the wonderful music.
Sargasso Sea link
Five Years Later link