This was my second Documenta visit. Twenty-five years had gone by since Documenta 9. Curated by my compatriot Jan Hoet it created a big buzz in Belgium so I wanted to see for myself.
Why did I wait so long to visit again? Honestly I don't know. I guess it was never top of mind. Documenta 9 was great after all. Despite the fact that this has been a very mediocre 14th edition of the Kassel exhibition I became enthousiast to return in 2022.
Fridericianum: as always at the heart of documenta
Marta Minujín, Parthenon of Books, 2017, Friedrichsplatz
Digital animation The End by Nikos Alexiou (EMST Collection), Fridericianum
Part of Alvin Lucier's, Sound on Paper, 1985, documenta Halle
Stanley Whitney, installation view, documenta Halle
I got to know John Abercrombie by means of a French TV show covering part of his 'first Quartet' concert at Antibes 1979. That particulary band was a crossover between jazz and chamberlike melodic music. The rythmic part was heavy, stimulating playing by George Mraz and Peter Donald. Richie Beirach was the virtuoso piano player, jazz but with a clearly strong classical training. The communication between the lead instruments was fluent, sometimes hypnotic. Most material performed came from the then actual "Arcade" album on ECM records.
It was easy to recognize that Abercrombie was a distinctive voice in the temporary music landscape. A long list of recordings can be found in the ECM catalogue. Some recordings to look for are:
Timeless (his knock on the door)
Gateway (with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette)
Duo albums with Ralph Towner
Trio albums with Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine
Quartet albums: the first above mentioned and following quartets with amongst others Mark Feldman and Joey Baron
A rather shady view from the highest balcony. Abercrombie with Texier, Romano, Rava and Pansanal in Montpellier, 2006
A rather rare album with all jazz standards: Straight Flight,1979
How long has it been since the release of 'Piano Reductions Vol 1'? Exactly 13 years! Those who believed to never complete their Secret Jewel Box can be relieved for now. Modern Primitive will be the 7th installment in the box.
Defined as the missing link between Flex-Able and Passion & Warfare, the album will also be released as twin package with P & W. So get your box from the dust shelf and add another jewel. The originally planned recordings may not see the light of day but this is a good sign that a least the project will get a grand finale.