The Abercrombie/Erskine/Mintzer/Patitucci Band (a/k/a The Hudson Project) is comprised of four of the most acclaimed musicians in contemporary music, each of whom has led his own band, and received great critical acclaim both as a composer and a player. On this DVD, the band performs a set of eight brilliant compositions—two by each member of the group—which range in style from the spiritual ballad feel of “The Well” by John Patitucci
John Abercrombie's group recordings on ECM have often come in threes. The Third Quartet, his latest featuring violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron, is an apt (and obvious) title, but hopefully not a sign that this is the end of this group's winning streak. Since forming in 2000 it's evolved into one of the best—if not the best—groups of the guitarist's long career.
Neither guitarist John Abercrombie nor producer Manfred Eicher's ECM label are often thought of in connection with dissonant, almost aggressive music, which makes the powerful OPEN LAND that much more of a surprise. Moving away from the guitar/synthesizer experiments Abercrombie favored in the early '90s towards a more traditional electric guitar tone, his playing here is at times fierce and never less than dazzling. With nine tracks in just under 65 minutes, the song structures of OPEN LAND are a bit more compact than Abercrombie usually favors; his solos are consequently more streamlined and intense.