John Abercrombie Quartet: 39 Steps

Most tracks are mid-tempo and the emphasis is on subtle intrigue and flowing lyricism

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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