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John Abercrombie

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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John Abercrombie Gateway: Gateway album cover
4.22 | 58 ratings | 5 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Back-Woods Song (7:54)
2. Waiting (2:13)
3. May Dance (11:04)
4. Unshielded Desire (4:52)
5. Jamala (4:47)
6. Sorcery 1 (10:56)

Total Time: 41:46

Line-up / Musicians

- John Abercrombie / guitar
- Dave Holland / double bass
- Jack DeJohnette / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Maja Weber

LP ECM Records - 1061 ST (1975, Germany)
LP ECM Records - 1061 (2008, Germany)

CD ECM Records - 1061 (1994, US)

Thanks to silentman for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JOHN ABERCROMBIE Gateway: Gateway Music

JOHN ABERCROMBIE Gateway: Gateway ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JOHN ABERCROMBIE Gateway: Gateway reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Philo
4 stars While all were loosing their heads during fusion fever time of the mid to late seventies, here are three well honed and extremely talented musicians putting on an album of dedicated jazz. John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette are as stripped down as a jazz act gets and they produce the goods here on this album right through to the end, and in fact the album comes across as a little short even, but then again all good albums are like that I suppose, though the trio would get together and put out Gateway 2 a couple of years later. I'm slowly discovering the delights of the ECM label, and so far have not been disappointed with what I have heard, much of what I have heard is certainly top drawer quality. Gateway pushes and throbs through six cuts with some intricate interplay coming to the front. Holland's use of an upright bass here is inspired, and definitely refreshing for the mid seventies, the rolling rhythms of "Back-Woods Song" are as good as that which will open any decent jazz album if not better, it's impossible to get the lulling riff out of the mind and when Abercrombie's smooth, yet driving guitar glides in you know it is going to be good, and the albums lead by example. Basically what you get here is three competent musicians giving up some fantastic music
Review by Gooner
5 stars As mentioned, this is not solely a John Abercrombie solo album. This is a collective trio known as GATEWAY since they've had several reunion releases in the '80s and '90s. This is the debut on ECM Records. What we have here is the incredible Jack DeJohnette on drums, Dave Holland on bass and John Abercrombie on electric guitar. The sound on this recording is not unlike what Terje Rypdal and the Jean-Luc Ponty-era of the Mahavishnu Orchestra were doing around 1975. The opener "Backwoods Song" has some of the slinkiest acoustic bass you'll ever hear....and catchy interplay between Abercrombie and DeJohnette? WOW! Another highlight is the closer "Sorcery no.1". Definitely influenced by Red-era King Crimson, this one (to my ears, at least). It has a "Providence"-like feel to it (for those familiar with KC's "Red" LP). The build up from improv. trio to scorching guitar and riffing bass/drum interplay is probably the best thing I've heard in the fusion genre. Highly recommended. I would consider this a masterpiece.
Review by The Owl
5 stars This 1975 release on the ECM label had more ferocity and fangs than your average ECM disc of the time. Having come fresh off a recording session with Oregon's Colin Walcott for his Cloud Dance album, the three musicians decided to stir up some electrified and inspired mayhem of their own.

Bassist Dave Holland leads the charge on Backwoods Song, starting innocently enough with a country-ish groove, then enters DeJohnette to give it further drive, then Abercrombie steers it toward the outer fringes of the woods, so to speak, with a vaguely unsettling, warbling melody, leading to a bluesy turnaround. From there, JA takes you to the darkest most unknown parts of this woods with his relentless guitar musings. Waiting is Dave Hollands' hypnotic bass solo piece that definitely conveys that feeling very well in fact. May Dance is a sunnier, more upbeat bop-inspired romp with Abercrombie leading the way with a clean yet edgy jazz tone from his axe.

Things get more intense with Unshielded Desire a duet of Abercrombie and DeJohnette that recalls the fiery exchanges of Coltrane and Elvin Jones from a decade earlier, both musicians relentlessly search for new melodic ideas as the piece almost blows itself apart. Jamal is a beautifully mysterious and enigmatic interaction between Abercrombie and Holland, To close on a high note, there is Sorcery 1, starting with menacing spook noises from Abercrombie and equally menacing percussion noises weave in and out, building in intensity until Abercrombie roars in with some of the spookiest long sustained notes this side of Hendrix as DeJohnette unleashes violent explosions of drums and cymbals while Holland roars authoritatively underneath them eventually winding down and leaving you spooked.

As is typical with ECM recordings, the overall ambience is spacious as all outdoors, yet the instruments are so crisp (especially drums and bass) while Abercrombie is recorded with just enough reverb and distance to give him, to my ears, one of the most genuinely unsettling, spooky and unique electric guitar sounds of the time, he sounded like NOBODY else.

Fusion with a strong emphasis on the JAZZ part of the equation with that kind of looseness combined with the ferocity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. A great postcard from when creativity was the norm!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars A very interesting Jazz album from three extraordinary talents. Abercrombie on guitar, DeJohnette on drums and Holland on bass. This is quite different from the Rypdal, DeJohnette and Vitous album also released by ECM. Abercrombie and Rypdal have very different styles and that changes the overall sound between the two.

"Gateway" begins with three fairly laid back tunes that are quite intricate as the bass, guitar and drums seem to do their own thing. "Waiting" puts the spotlight on Holland as he leads the way with some cymbals added in. "May Dance" is where we get some passion from Abercrombie after 5 minutes then Holland solos once again. "Unshielded Desire" sounds so good mainly because up until now it's been fairly mellow and intricate. This song is very dynamic with DeJohnette offering up a great drum intro as Abercrombie comes in soloing over top. This continues as the guitar lights it up while the drums pound away. "Jamala" is mellow with cymbals, guitar and bass. "Sorcery I" will challenge your mind. After all that's gone before which I must say requires some patience,we are hit with an experimental intro before the guitar and drums start to wield their might before 2 minutes. It settles to a Jazzy mode a minute later then Abercrombie starts to set the soundscape ablaze. My God ! He's ripping it up 5 1/2 minutes in. I'm laughing at this section because of the joy I feel. DeJohnette not to be left out starts to dominte before 9 1/2 minutes to the end. I don't have an I-Pod yet but if I did this 11 minute tour de force would be on it. Killer track.

A special album that is an honour to own. 4 solid stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Not really a John Abercrombie solo album but a collaboration between 3 superb contemporary musicians from the mid-1970`s fusion jazz scene and perhaps one of the most accessable. Accessable in the sense that Abercrombie really let`s her rip on a couple of tracks, flowing with electricity which c ... (read more)

Report this review (#108660) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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