's tying together of jazz's many threads 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. His star has since faded somewhat, due largely to the general conservatism that's come to dominate jazz, though he has remained a vital creative personality.
'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.
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
'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
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. Wait Till You See Her
appeared in 2009. In 2011, the guitarist issued Speak to Me, a duet recording with pianist Marc Copland on the German Pirouet label. He followed it with quartet recording Within a Song for ECM. His band on the date included drummer Joey Barron, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and bassist Drew Gress. In October of 2013, another quartet session appeared on the label. Entitled 39 Steps, its lineup contained only one change, as Copland replaced Lovano.