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Although the title track is one of four named after films by Alfred Hitchcock, unbearable tension and swashbuckling are noticeably absent.

Most tracks are mid-tempo and the emphasis is on subtle intrigue, flowing lyricism and the interplay between the leader’s warm, cleanly articulated guitar and Marc Copland’s piano – “Shadow of a Doubt” a light scamper of free jazz; “Melancholy Baby” a lattice of interlocking lines. And with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron equally supple and sinewy companions, each track is an understated delight.

John Abercrombie Quartet

39 Steps

(ECM)

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