Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie has died

John AbercrombieJOHN ABERCROMBIE, 72, of heart failure on August 22 in Courtlandt Manor, NY. Called “a guitarist of stylistic flexibility and uncompromising musical vision,” he was as adept with standards as he was with flights into rock-accented fusion. He discovered jazz through listening to recordings by Barney Kessel.

While still a student at Berklee College of Music, he toured with organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith. Abercrombie had a long association with ECM, recording dozens of albums for the label as a leader, co-leader and sideman, starting with his first recording in 1974—Timeless featuring drummer Jack DeJohnette and organist/pianist Jan Hammer.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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