Ralph's Piano Waltz
Red and Orange
A forward-thinking guitarist who pushed the boundaries between jazz, rock, folk, and art music, John Abercrombie was often in a soulful jazz-fusion mode for this 1975 album. Despite the players' heady résumés (Abercrombie, drummer Jack Dejohnette, and keyboardist Jan Hammer had played with likes of John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, etc.), there's a youthful enthusiasm to the tunes. Hammer’s “Red and Orange” in particular is a sweaty fusion affair. Abercrombie’s “Ralph’s Piano Waltz” is hard-groovin’ B3 all the way with all three digging deep, while his “Timeless” has a snaky funk without rising above a simmer. Hammer’s high-velocity “Lungs” splits the difference between groove and rock thanks to his synthesizer and Abercrombie’s bluesy leads. Abercrombie brings it down for the yearning “Love Song” and swirling “Remembering,” which are both acoustic gems. This is a strong outing worth further investigation.