A trio of gems from this great group led by guitarist John Abercrombie! First up is Arcade – a record full of rich tones and cascadingly lyrical lines – and a set that features the wonderful pairing of John Abercrombie's guitar and the piano of Richie Beirach! Beirach seems to ground Abercrombie even more than usual – still letting John have those atmospheric qualities in his notes, but with a sense of flow and focus that we really appreciate – energy that might also come from the work of George Mraz on bass, and Peter Donald on drums. Tunes are simple and elegant, but say a hell of a lot with a little – and the album's maybe as perfect a summation of the ECM approach to guitar at its best as some of the early Pat Metheny albums. Titles include "Arcade", "Nightlake", "Neptune", "Alchemy", and "Paramour". Next up is a self-titled set from the John Abercrombie Quartet – that late 70s group that seemed to find one of the best matches for John's unusual phrasing on the guitar – with round, warm work on bass from George Mraz, equally great piano from Richie Beirach, and drums from Peter Donald. The songs are a mix of melodic moments and more chromatic shades – and titles include "Blue Wolf", "Dear Rain", "Stray", "Madagascar", "Foolish Dog", and "Riddles". M continues the charm of this group – and marks their last outing for ECM – on titles that include "Boat Song", "What Are The Rules", "Flashback
", "M", "Veils", and "To Be".