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Animations by John Basile and John Abercrombie

Guitarists John Basile and John Abercrombie have so many similarities it's amazing they haven't recorded a duo album before (the work Basile did with Abercrombie on the John Abercrombie Teaches Jazz Guitar Improvisation video doesn't count). While only 10 or so years apart in age, they both attended the Berklee School of Music, have performed extensively both as leaders and side-musicians with an astounding number of other big name jazz artists and bring the same like-minded sensibilities to their playing - sensitivity to honor the music first, the ability to creatively shape lines that fit perfectly within the accompaniment, radar ears to provide the perfect accompaniment for the artist being featured, stylistically subverting the needs of the ego to honor the other artist and the facility and cleverness to play in tandem, both with and against, another guitarist in the most exposed of all ensemble settings - the duo.

This splendidly performed recording should be required listening for all guitarists who think they know what it takes to play jazz. The interplay between these two consummate musicians is astonishing. They seem to sense the direction their compatriot is going to go before they get there and, in sensing this, are able to prepare that direction in advance. For example, Abercrombie's solo on Sweet & Lovely delves, for a short while, into fragmented diminished scales and even before he goes there you can sense Basile's slight shift in the rhythm and voicing of his accompaniment in order to lay a more appropriate foundation for Abercrombie's coming lines. This is but one example of how these two consummate musicians venerate and enliven the talents of the other throughout the entire 50+ minutes of this recording.

Those looking for pyro-techniques should go elsewhere. On this recording it's all about nuance, subtle interplay, shifting time to more fully express musical thoughts, finding the perfect way to voice chords in accompanying lines to further flesh out thoughts by the soloist and some of the most understated, modest and discreet musical wit you'll ever hear. Together they cover standards, such as the afore mentioned Sweet, as well as originals. Styles covered include swing and free, along with many variations of and between the two depending on the juxtapositions of their musical mood at the time. It's a splendid recording that is so perfect you can't believe such musicianship is possible. This CD is a must for any serious jazz lover.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Basile and John Abercrombie
  • CD Title: Animations
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Underhill Jazz
  • Tracks: Sweet & Lovely, Paws, Nobody Else But Me, Under The Influence, Animations, Angel Falls, Peace, Short Cut, The Lilter, Desert Storm and Dreamsville
  • Musicians: John Abercrombie (guitars), John Basile (guitars, guitar synthesizer)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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