Download of the Week: Gateway

Back in the '70s, a new friend and I were talking about music and I mentioned I played guitar (he did too), liked Jimi Hendrix, Miles, and so on and he responded, "Gateway" with an almost dreamy look in his eye. When he noticed my quizical expression, he said, "Gateway!" as if I hadn't heard him and we all know that in these instances all one need do is raise your voice. Still no reaction from me.

"John Abercrombie? Gateway?" He persisted, very nearly exasperated.

"I don't know it."

"Get it. It's God." He stated matter-of-factly.

And so I did and listened to it on my record player for weeks and weeks and weeks, following its twists and turns and laid back loopy loops ("Sorcery I" heats up) until I was walking in Gateway's amorphousness. This being the '70s, weed was in the mix.

John Laird Abercrombie passed away August 22, 2017 and his was a singular voice on guitar; he had his own language, his own dialect. While I felt confused at times within that world (could have been the weed), it was always fascinating and Gateway the album/band still holds a special spot in my heart both for the new friend that I associate it with, and for the stunning performces by Abercrombie, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette.

Released on ECM in 1975, Gateway can be just that. All it takes is time listening.

Available from Tidal and Qobuz (it's cheaper from the latter).

canuckmgh's picture

Listened to his most recent quartet album yesterday evening, Up and Coming, sort of in memoriam. The Gateway album Homecoming, from '94 I think, is probably my favourite of that group's discography.

MicKo's picture

the wonderful album 'Timeless' with Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette from '74, which I listened to frequently up to now. I had the pleasure to attend several concerts with him and I was always impressed by his modesty and his ability to integrate into the respective group context.

gefski's picture

Looks like John's death was overlooked by many in the wake of the passing of Walter Becker.

I've, of course, revisited my favorites (Timeless hit me like a brick way back then when I wasn't’t listening to jazz), but for those listening to albums where John wasn't the leader, spend an evening with Charles Lloyd's 'The Water Is Wide'; John's presence is MANDATORY!