John Abercrombie's revised quartet provides Marc Copland with his first appearance on ECM.
Yet guitarist and pianist are old allies, with an association stretching back forty years. In the early 1970s both were members of Chico Hamilton's quartet, and at the dawn of fusion both played with the pioneering jazz-rock band Dreams. Since the late 1990s they've revived their partnership in diverse contexts and have toured in formations ranging from piano-guitar duo to trio with Kenny Wheeler to the cooperative group Contact with Dave Liebman and Billy Hart.
For much of the last decade Abercrombie and Copland have also each had bassist Drew Gress as a regular member of their respective bands so 39 Steps draws on a network of trusted relationships. Jazz ballads and lyricism predominate on this disc with six tunes from Abercrombie's pen, two Copland tunes, one collective improvisation, and a creative deconstruction of the old standard 'Melancholy Baby'. The album was produced by Manfred Eicher at New York's Avatar Studio in April 2013.
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