Milt Hinton Jazz Presents Abercrombie & Laverne
John Abercrombie's fusion of the many threads of jazz music made him one of the most influential acoustic and electric guitarists of the 1970s and early '80s. His recordings for ECM have helped define that label's progressive chamber jazz reputation. Abercrombie's style draws upon all manner of contemporary improvised music. His style is essentially jazz-based, but he also displays a more-than-passing familiarity with forms that range from folk and rock to Eastern and Western art musics. Abercrombie attended Boston's Berklee College of Music from 1962 to 1966. While at Berklee, the guitarist toured with bluesman Johnny Hammond. After relocating to New York in 1969, Abercrombie spent time in groups led by drummers Chico Hamilton and Billy Cobham. It was with the latter's Spectrum group that Abercrombie first received widespread attention. Abercrombie's first album as leader was Timeless, a trio album with drummer Jack DeJohnette and keyboardist Jan Hammer. That was followed by Gateway, another trio with DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland replacing Hammer. Abercrombie's subtle and lyrical style is heard to best effect in small, intimate settings, with the recurring Gateway trio or as captured in duos with fellow guitarist Ralph Towner. Abercrombie continued to be active as the 21st century opened, releasing Cat 'n' Mouse in 2002, Class Trip in 2004, A Nice Idea (with pianist Andy LaVerne) in 2005, Structures (recorded with a single microphone) in 2006, and Third Quartet in 2007.
A fine keyboardist who has ranged in styles from Bill Evans to Chick Corea and fusion, Andy LaVerne has managed to avoid predictability throughout his career. He began studying as a classical piano student at Juilliard when he was eight. After discovering jazz, LaVerne had some important lessons from Bill Evans. He toured with Woody Herman's big band (1973-1975), played with John Abercrombie, and Miroslay Vitious, and was with Stan Getz's group during 1977-1980, often playing electric piano. In the 1980s, he performed with the Brubeck-LaVerne Trio (which also featured Chris and Dan Brubeck), recorded a tribute to Chick Corea for DMP, and became a busy jazz educator. In the 1990s, LaVerne has concentrated on acoustic piano, recording a solo concert at Maybeck Recital Hall. Through the years, Andy LaVerne has recorded as a leader for Storyville (1977), Jazzline, SteepleChase, DMP, Triloka, Concord, and some smaller labels.