Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie Dead At 72 (Photo)

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Legendary lyrical jazz guitarist John Abercrombie died at the age of 72 on Aug. 22.

Abercrombie passed away at a hospital in Cortlandt Manor, New York, after suffering from a long illness, reports NPR.

According to Marc Copland, a friend and pianist who performed with Abercrombie, the jazz great had a stroke in May and had been sick since, reports the Chicago Tribune.

He left behind his wife, Lisa Abram, who had been married to Abercrombie for 31 years.

Abercrombie was well known for his unique, pioneering jazz-rock style. His work has since influenced many younger jazz musicians.

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"I had to figure things for myself," he once explained. "I grabbed onto every device I had in my arsenal -- my knowledge of harmony and the guitar, the few little fuzztones or pieces of gear that I used at the time -- and tried to fit in. When I'd play with Jack and Dave Holland, or some other players, I responded to what I was hearing around me, and let the sound of it all teach me what I was supposed to do."

His music has also inspired some of today's popular musicians. Abercrombie's "Timeless" album has also been used as a popular source for the likes of Ab-Soul while he worked with Kendrick Lamar.

Abercrombie's love for the electric guitar began when he was just a teenager in the late 1950s.

"I just heard this sound of an electric guitar kind of drifting over to my porch where I was sitting," he once recalled in an interview. "So I walked over, and here was this guy with his feet up, playing an electric guitar, just strumming chords. And I was so fascinated with it that that's when I started talking to my parents. I said, I really want an electric guitar."

After finishing high school, he studied at the Berklee College of Music and, at one point, even played in a strip club while he got his education.

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He eventually rose to prominence in the 1970s, becoming a leading guitarist in jazz fusion.

In more recent years, Abercrombie worked as a lecturer in jazz at Purchase College while continuing to experiment with different musical styles.

Those who knew him mourned his loss and praised his contributions.

"John could go anywhere -- rhythmically, melodically, harmonically -- at the drop of a hat," drummer Jack DeJohnette said. "He had a very warm sound, and always played with sensitivity, dynamics. He could create atmosphere with his comping, and through his great use of space."

Sources: NPR (2), Chicago Tribune / Featured Image: Borisfilantrop/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Tom Marcello/Flickr, Rama/Wikimedia Commons

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