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The First Quartet

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Box Set
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The First Quartet
The First Quartet


This 3-CD set with recordings from 1978 to 1980, issued in ECM's acclaimed Old & New Masters series, returns some historically-important material to the catalogue, namely the albums 'Arcade', 'Abercrombie Quartet' and 'M'. The quartet with Richie Beirach, George Mraz and Peter Donald - John Abercrombie's first touring band as a leader - was the group in which the guitarist defined some priorities, moving away from a jazz-rock period into a more spacious, impressionistic and original music. Abercrombie and pianist Beirach had a strong musical rapport as improvisers and wrote almost all of the band's book between them. George Mraz and Peter Donald provided imaginative support. For this edition the recordings - made in Oslo and Ludwigsburg and produced by Manfred Eicher - were re-mastered from original analog sources. It's a first appearance on CD for these discs in most world territories ('Arcade' was briefly available on compact disc in Japan) and re-release of these titles has been much requested by followers of both Abercrombie and Beirach as well as ECM collectors. From the liner notes, by John Kelman: "With the release of 'Arcade', 'Abercrombie Quartet' and 'M', John Abercrombie's entire ECM discography as a leader is finally available on CD. Looking back at these discs and their position in his oeuvre, they are revealed as seminal documents of Abercrombie's arrival as a distinctive writer, improvising guitarist and bandleader. Abercrombie's subsequent career has, in many ways, been built on the foundational strength of these early quartet recordings." Personnel: John Abercrombie (guitars, mandolin); Richie Beirach (piano); George Mraz (double bass); Peter Donald (drums)


  1. Name
  2. Arcade
  3. Nightlake
  4. Paramour
  5. Neptune
  6. Alchemy
  7. Blue Wolf
  8. Dear Rain
  9. Stray
  10. Madagascar
  11. Riddles
  12. Foolish Dog
  13. Boat Song
  14. M
  15. What are the Rules
  16. Flashback
  17. To Be
  18. Veils
  19. Pebbles
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