Category: Abercrombie John

John Abercrombie: Searching For A Sound

johnAbercrombieThere are a series of interviews hosted by Dr. David Schoeder for NYU called the Steinhardt Interview Series that were done in 2009 and 2010 here. They are all great, and this one with John Abercrombie is no exception. From the interview:

“Basically the guitar is a piece of lumber. Some are made of a little better lumber than others, but it almost doesn’t matter. Once you put an electronic pickup in the guitar, and you have a cable, and you plug it into an amplifier that sits outside of you, your sound’s coming out of there… I can understand why the rock ‘n’ roll players need to use stacks of Marshall amps. This gives them what they want. They need to play that loud. They have to. That’s part of the sound. I didn’t need to play that loud, but I needed a sound, so I just had to try different things until I came up with it. I realized the guitar was the least important part in my sound. A lot of the possibilities come from whether it’s just a single amplifier with no reverberation, or whether it’s a stack of Marshalls, or whether it’s some sophisticated setup.”

Click here to read and listen to John Abercrombie: Searching For A Sound

—Peter Blasevick

John Abercrombie’s Uncut Downbeat Blindfold Test

For the last day in my week of Ted Panken interviews, here is guitarist John Abercrombie in a Downbeat Blindfold Test from 2001. The Jazz great listens to 15 cuts and makes some pretty astute observations; it does amaze me sometimes how accurate these folks can be on these Blindfold Tests. From the piece, Abercrombie on James Blood Ulmer (who he was stumped on!):

Wow!  This is great.  I don’t know that tune.  I have to get this.  I’ve heard some other stuff by Blood and I liked it.  I have some of this stuff where he was singing that I enjoyed, but I’ll have to get this.  This definitely sounds very hip to me.  Very open.  And it’s kind of funny; that’s why I thought it was Sonny Sharrock, because of some of the similarities.  He sounds to me more harmonic.  I hear more harmonic information in his playing.  It’s cool.  And I think he does sort of play with his thumb a little bit, because it’s got a little bit of that feel.  It’s plucky.  He chokes the notes a little bit, so it… I’ll give this 5 stars.  I still like it. [AFTER] Now that you tell me it was Rashied Ali, it makes total sense, because I played with him once, and he has a great way of playing a sort of open music.  you really feel like they’re playing on a form or something.  It really has a great swing, a pulse to it.  It’s not just free.  I think that’s what makes it work.  That’s what makes everything sound so great.

Click here to read John Abercrombie’s Uncut Downbeat Blindfold Test