JazzTimes - p.132
"[E]xpressive, expansive....Feldman acts like a portable string section, shading Abercrombie's solos with a quiet tremolo and giving the music a beautifully stylized, almost noir sound."
Personnel: John Abercrombie (guitar); Mark Feldman (violin); Marc Johnson (bass); Joey Baron (drums).
Recorded at Avatar Studio, New York, New York in February 2003.
Personnel: John Abercrombie (guitar); Mark Feldman (violin); Marc Johnson's Bass Desires (double bass); Joey Baron (drums).
Recording information: Avatar Studio, New York, NY.
Photographer: Deborah Feingold.
Although atmosphere and ambience can take priority over compositional focus on some ECM releases, this is far from the case with CLASS TRIP. The product of guitarist John Abercrombie's collaboration with violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Joey Baron (their follow-up to 2002's CAT 'N' MOUSE), CLASS TRIP is an exemplar of what ECM does best. This is spare, brilliantly conceived chamber jazz with the artists' superior improvisational skills--which draw equally on jazz, modern classical, avant-garde, and even pop idioms--on abundant display.
Abercrombie's delicate tone and light touch on the guitar belie a complex and challenging compositional sensibility. The leader's tunes push at structural conventions and notions of traditional interplay. Yet for all its experimental verve, the disc is highly melodic--the music is as dreamy and lilting as it is challenging (as on the lovely "Risky Business"). Nods to post-bop ("Illinoise"), electric fusion ("Swirls"), and classical music (a de-constructive take on Bartok's "Soldier's Song") reveal key influences, but the whole is remarkably--and satisfyingly--original.