1. #1

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    I have been on a strong Abercrombie kick lately and going through his discography.

    I have this idea that I will do a mini-tour through major modern players and transcribe something from them all. At the same time I might learn a couple of their tunes for fun.

    I learned a chorus by Scofield (Not You Again, i.e. There Will Never Be Another You). Currently, I am working on Mike Stern´s Jean Pierre solo for something completely different. From Metheny, I will probably visit and learn Bright Size Life in the future since I love the tune and album despite not being a Metheny fanatic.

    Frisell, maybe a couple of his own compositions like Strange Meeting or Throughout plus something more traditional like his work with Motian in the On Broadway series.

    However, I would appreciate if you can point me towards some John Abercrombie solos that would give an idea on his approach. I love Abercrombie´s playing and feel he continued Jim Hall´s legacy. For some reason, I have a hard time getting a handle on both Abercrombie and Hall when it comes to transcribing despite looking up to them - they don't feel like players where you go "oh, I will steal that one burning lick". It´s more about the whole solo and creating ambiance, IMO.

    I feel like learning an original composition of his (like Timeless or Ralph´s Piano Waltz) and a standard might be an idea.

    When it comes to standards, this live bootleg speaks to me almost better than the studio versions he did:



    On the more modern side, the piece How´s Never from the 1995 Gateway recording Homecoming features some enjoyably nasty playing over a funky vamp. No studio version on YT unfortunately:


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  3. #2

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    That's an interesting observation. I've been lucky enough to get to hang out and play with both John and Jim Hall, and despite them being probably the two biggest influences on my approach to the guitar, I can't really point to any particular transcribed licks I took from either of them.

    Have you checked out John's instructional video with John Basile? john abercrombie instructional video - YouTube. It's got some solid material on playing up and down one string, and playing 'melodic basslines" (half and quarter notes) through a progression that are at the core of his approach.

    Another thing that's been really illuminating for me was tracking down multiple versions of the standards he loved to play (Beautiful Love, Stella, I Hear A Rhapsody, Nardis, In Your Own Sweet Way, ) and hearing how he's developed them over the years.

    Are you familiar with Mick Goodrick? He was John's roommate at Berkeley, and to some degree or another, teacher to Pat Metheney, Stern, Sco and Frisell. His playing is criminally under recorded, but his book The Advancing Guitarist is a subtle masterpiece.


    Best wishes for your music,

    PK

  4. #3

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    had the first john abercrombie solo lp-timeless...on ecm..when it was originally released...mindblowing..was huge fan since

    his last ecm recording, shortly before he passed -up and coming- lead off with a great track-joy-

    unfortunately ecm doesn't allow free u-tubes of their catalog...but a great track




    cheers

  5. #4

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    I'm another devotee of John's music--his playing, his composition, his group concepts, his adventuring spirit...A tremendous resource for exploring his compositional approach is the book "Timeless--The Music of John Abercrombie." It includes a number of lead sheets to compositions from throughout his career, with his own commentary about the tunes. In addition to the Homespun video cited above, he did a 2-part video for mymusicmasterclass.com which is very illuminating about his improvisational concepts. So much to learn from this great master.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut
    That's an interesting observation. I've been lucky enough to get to hang out and play with both John and Jim Hall, and despite them being probably the two biggest influences on my approach to the guitar, I can't really point to any particular transcribed licks I took from either of them.

    Have you checked out John's instructional video with John Basile? john abercrombie instructional video - YouTube. It's got some solid material on playing up and down one string, and playing 'melodic basslines" (half and quarter notes) through a progression that are at the core of his approach.

    Another thing that's been really illuminating for me was tracking down multiple versions of the standards he loved to play (Beautiful Love, Stella, I Hear A Rhapsody, Nardis, In Your Own Sweet Way, ) and hearing how he's developed them over the years.

    Are you familiar with Mick Goodrick? He was John's roommate at Berkeley, and to some degree or another, teacher to Pat Metheney, Stern, Sco and Frisell. His playing is criminally under recorded, but his book The Advancing Guitarist is a subtle masterpiece.
    Thank you PK! It´s wild to hear you got to experience both of my jazz guitar heroes. Any memories you care to share?

    I probably should sit down with that video you posted. I actually bought John´s MMMC instructional video set on Jazz Guitar Eastman refers to, took notes and learned a number of actionable concepts and ideas. I think I was expecting something far out but his teaching was very practical and useful, in comparison I have a bit of a hard time gelling with Bruce Forman´s videos. For my money, I have a few of the MMMC videos and the two part Abercrombie ones have been the most useful for me. He touches on the melodic basslines idea there too. That's something I have been working with, especially with half notes and I think it produces good results.

    I really like your idea of tracking down his preferred standards, thank you!

    For Abercrombie fans, Jody Fisher has posted this excellent seminar with him:


    I am somewhat familiar with Goodrick and a copy of the Advancing Guitarist resides in my bookshelf. I say somewhat because despite being name checked by greats like Abercrombie and Metheny as an influence, I haven't really investigated his own recordings and he remains a somewhat mysterious character to me. I think I have a copy of Goodrick´s In Pas(s)ing ECM LP somewhere. I love Gary Burton´s Carla Bley recording with Goodrick and Metheny. I have been working on the single string stuff Goodrick and Abercrombie espouse and it appeals to me a great deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    his last ecm recording, shortly before he passed -up and coming- lead off with a great track-joy-

    unfortunately ecm doesn't allow free u-tubes of their catalog...but a great track
    I will investigate, thank you for your recommendation!

    I'm another devotee of John's music--his playing, his composition, his group concepts, his adventuring spirit...A tremendous resource for exploring his compositional approach is the book "Timeless--The Music of John Abercrombie." It includes a number of lead sheets to compositions from throughout his career, with his own commentary about the tunes. In addition to the Homespun video cited above, he did a 2-part video for mymusicmasterclass.com which is very illuminating about his improvisational concepts. So much to learn from this great master.
    I was not aware of this book, thanks! Sounds right up my alley. I already have the MMMC videos he did on jazz guitar but should probably get the composition and improv video he also did.

  7. #6

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    If you search the forum, I have a fair number of posts passing along advice I got from Jim and John, and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Examples of Mick's playing are hard to track down. After the Gary Burton sides and his debut In Pas(s)ing, there are some good records from the 90's on the Italian label RAM, probably long out of print, and some good bootlegs with Jimmy Mosher, John Lockwood, Tom Harrell etc can surface from time to time.

    Best wishes for your music!

    PK