Monday, 16 May 2016
Jack DeJohnette - Pictures (1977)
In a succinct 37-minute tour of DeJohnette's Picture gallery, we're treated to six works titled only by numbers, half of which feature guitarist John Abercrombie. We start out with DeJohnette solo though, layering a swirling organ drone over a funky drum track on Picture 1, then accomplishing one of the most engrossing and thoroughly melodic drums solos you'll ever hear on Picture 2, owing to his masterful percussion tuning.
Just under a year previous to recording this album, DeJohnette and Abercrombie had been in the ECM studio with bassist Dave Holland to record their legendary first album as the 'Gateway' trio, and we're in similar territory for Pictures 3 through 5, the latter creating a high point in the album through Abercrombie's switch to acoustic guitar.
Picture 6 is back to DeJohnette solo, on percussion and piano. Opening with a gorgeous, subtly reverbed piano statement (it's often forgotten what a fine pianist the man is, as he's spent so long in the shadow of Keith Jarrett in the Standards Trio). This is gradually replaced by ominous gongs, which are rejoined by the piano from about the halfway point of the track, becoming more fractured and haunting, taking us to a stunning, evocative conclusion to a great little album.