Berklee’s Guitar Department Pays Tribute to John Abercrombie

By 
Allen Bush
October 2, 2018
Press release
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Peers and fans will celebrate jazz guitarist and alumnus John Abercrombie at a Signature Series event on October 10.

John Abercrombie's work explored many styles of jazz and influenced countless musicians.

In celebration of the late guitar virtuoso John Abercrombie ‘67, the Berklee Guitar Department pays tribute to his life, music, and memories with friends and longtime collaborators. The Signature Series performance will feature Guitar Department faculty, students, and guest artists. 

Abercrombie came to prominence in the mid-1970s, forging a path followed by guitarists Bill Frisell ’77 ’17H, Mick Goodrick ‘67, and Pat Metheny ‘96H. A recording artist with ECM records for 40 years, his influential albums were among the first to blend rock, folk, and world music with jazz. He collaborated with a wide range of artists, frequently working with Jack DeJohnette, Ralph Towner, John Scofield B.M. ‘73 ‘97H, Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Marc Copland, and Richie Beirach '67.

The concert takes place Wednesday, October 10, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person for $10 in advance, and $15 the day of the show at the BPC box office

Metheny described Abercrombie, who passed away in 2017, as “a guitarist who excels at everything he does. Besides being constantly engaging as a soloist, he is one of the best accompanists in jazz.”

“Abercrombie was one of the first guitar students to attend Berklee with six others in 1962. Now there are 1,000 of them,” said Rick Peckham concert producer and guitar professor. “Alongside classmate Mick Goodrick, Abercrombie began his legacy of craft and artistry here, exploring sonic textures untouched and unrealized by others. A masterful accompanist, he served as an indispensable catalyst to projects, promoting the guitarist as a viable leader of innovative ensembles. His performances and recordings inspired us to be better listeners, players, and teachers. This concert is our way of thanking him and recognizing his many gifts to the musical world.”

The concert will feature visiting artists Joey Baron (drums) and Lage Lund B.M. ‘00 (guitar), with Berklee Global Jazz Institute faculty Joe Lovano B.M. ’72 (tenor saxophone) and Ben Street (bass). Also featured will be Berklee faculty Larry Baione '71, Jeffrey Lockhart, Bruce Saunders, and Tim Miller, and select students and alumni. Guitar professor Mick Goodrick will present remarks.

Abercrombie's collaborators were regaled by his dry humor that enhanced many a session. He leaves behind an extensive discography that will be studied as long as people continue to play jazz guitar.

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