Mort à Credit shows Kaoru Abe in a fascinating period of transition, moving forth to something complexly and identifiably new, yet intransigently rooted in what had come before. It consists of two alto improvs from a show on October 18, 1975, and five more (three on alto, two on sopranino) from another performance a couple of days earlier. Released by Kojima on 2LP in 1976, it can be said to mark a significant change in Abe's style. Abe is here a little soften from his usual urgency - this can perhaps be in part attributed to the passage of time - and become more interested in spacing and the exact rhythms of phrasingopprobrium's friend in Japan Alan Cummings (the source for approx. 100% of the concrete factual information herein divulged) reports that the general consensus in circles there within which abe's work is known and appreciated is that he was at his best ca. 1970-1973/74, a view i don't think i could ever really significantly disagree with. but for me the period summarised by mort à credit is also highly salient. while his earlier recordings focused on energy and an almost self-conscious encompassing of the saxophone's entire range and sonic potential (like some deliberately comprehensive inventory of sounds you can make with an alto), the material here shows abe audaciously experimenting with a smaller range of sounds - those inherent in the instrument's upper limits - and pushing them further, narrowing his scope and coming up with improvisations which, in what they attempt to achieve, are arguably even further 'out'.
after the partitas double album (recorded 1973, released 1981), mort à credit was to become the last abe album to be released in his lifetime. for the record, his discography runs like this: the trio on psf, the duo with takayanagi, the duo with yamazaki on psf, the three tokuma titles, the three psf solo titles, the winter 1972 bootleg (recorded 1972, released 1974), partitas (also reissued on cd by japanese label disk union in 1991), then mort à credit, followed by nord with yoshizawa, guest spots on milford graves's meditation among us, in a quartet which included mototeru takagi and toshinori kondo (recorded/released in 1977, reissued on cd by disk union in 1992), and on derek bailey's duo and trio improvisation (recorded/released in 1978, same reissue details as the graves), and then the posthumous releases: the overhang party duo with toyozumi (kojima 2lp, 1979), the studio session 1976.3.12 cd (vivid sound corporation, 1992 - abe solo on alto, piano and harmonica), ten (!) cds' worth of solo live at gaya (diw, 1991 - recordings from september 30 1977 to august 19 1978), and the last date 1978.8.28