Premiere: John Abercrombie and Don Thompson Perform ‘Yesterdays’ at a 1992 Toronto Gig


John Abercrombie (1944–2017)

(Photo: DownBeat Archives)

The pair only has a few recordings together, despite a decade’s long relationship.

But the early 1990s was a time when guitarist John Abercrombie and multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson seemed to be in sync. There’s a duo album from 1991, Witchcraft, and in October 1992, Abercrombie and Thompson set up a three-night run at Toronto’s The Guitar Bar. Yesterdays (Cornerstone), a live recording of the performances due out Sept. 24, finds the pair working through a clutch of intimate standards.

“I met John at the Banff [International Workshop in Jazz] in 1982. We became friends immediately and in the following years played together whenever we could, and made a couple of nice recordings,” said Thompson, who plays bass on the forthcoming live set, in a press release. “[This] was one of the most fun gigs we’d ever played. John was a beautiful friend and a great musician. I’ll miss him forever.”

Though Yesterdays is comprised of familiar tunes—and concludes with an interpretation of Ornette Coleman’s “Turnaround”—it still provides insight into the duo’s collaborative relationship. Their rendition of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays,” which premieres here, showcases an immediate rapport and finds Thompson tossing off lines at least as dextrous as Abercrombie’s.

For additional information on the album, visit the Cornerstone website. DB

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September 2020
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