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Bill Frisell|Valentine

Valentine

Bill Frisell - Rudy Royston - Thomas Morgan

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Before we marvel at the high-altitude interplay of the Bill Frisell Trio or the sometimes extreme sonic gyrations of its leader, let's begin at the most basic level—with stark, simple, standalone guitar declarations. Frisell opens several pieces on Valentine this way, in the clear. He'll send a carefully plucked single note out into the air, and then, after it subsides, he'll drop another. Tone is his only lure, and it's all he needs to suggest the framework of a tune like "Levees:" The initial phrase operates like an opening scene in a film, establishing a thick and specific atmosphere. Out of that blossoms a six-minute exploration in which Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston travel between strict tempo and drifty listlessness, blues repetition and free-jazz high dives, jittery conversation and disquieting silences.

From a single note, there are many resonances; Frisell has been doing this kind of quiet alchemy for years, of course. Valentine is among the most rousing works in his extensive discography in part because it's so relentlessly visual. On just about every piece, Frisell and his trio work transfixingly together to conjure dirt-road sojurns and nature vistas out of thin air. They create contemplative spaces the jazz academy never visits. They dance through a blithe, lighthearted reading of Burt Bacharach's "What The World Needs Now" and a disquieting sorrow-filled version of "We Shall Overcome." And on many of Frisell's skeletal originals (the stunning "Keep Your Eyes Open," for example), they transform their three-way improvised abstractions into clear, singable music that has the sturdy narrative arc of classic country music.

As these journeys unfold, it becomes clear that right along with the spontaneity there's some deep intention at work. The stylistic juxtapositions and sudden changes in density are hardly random. Neither are the fragile little introductions—somehow they're all Frisell needs to telegraph where he's going. As in so many aspects of life, the tone is set from the top. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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Valentine

Bill Frisell

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1
Baba Drame
00:04:59

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Boubacar Traore, Composer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Hour Glass
00:02:58

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Composer, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Valentine
00:06:27

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Composer, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Levees
00:06:04

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Composer, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Winter Always Turns To Spring
00:05:10

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Keep Your Eyes Open
00:06:05

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing
00:07:23

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Strayhorn, ComposerLyricist - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Electricity
00:03:19

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Composer, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Wagon Wheels
00:04:14

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Hill, ComposerLyricist - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter DeRose, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Aunt Mary
00:03:19

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Composer, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
What The World Needs Now Is Love
00:05:55

Burt Bacharach, ComposerLyricist - Hal David, ComposerLyricist - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Where Do We Go?
00:03:09

Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Acoustic Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
We Shall Overcome
00:06:25

Traditional, Composer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Townsend, Producer - Tucker Martine, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill Frisell, Electric Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Thomas Morgan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Rudy Royston, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Cole Halvorson, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Before we marvel at the high-altitude interplay of the Bill Frisell Trio or the sometimes extreme sonic gyrations of its leader, let's begin at the most basic level—with stark, simple, standalone guitar declarations. Frisell opens several pieces on Valentine this way, in the clear. He'll send a carefully plucked single note out into the air, and then, after it subsides, he'll drop another. Tone is his only lure, and it's all he needs to suggest the framework of a tune like "Levees:" The initial phrase operates like an opening scene in a film, establishing a thick and specific atmosphere. Out of that blossoms a six-minute exploration in which Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston travel between strict tempo and drifty listlessness, blues repetition and free-jazz high dives, jittery conversation and disquieting silences.

From a single note, there are many resonances; Frisell has been doing this kind of quiet alchemy for years, of course. Valentine is among the most rousing works in his extensive discography in part because it's so relentlessly visual. On just about every piece, Frisell and his trio work transfixingly together to conjure dirt-road sojurns and nature vistas out of thin air. They create contemplative spaces the jazz academy never visits. They dance through a blithe, lighthearted reading of Burt Bacharach's "What The World Needs Now" and a disquieting sorrow-filled version of "We Shall Overcome." And on many of Frisell's skeletal originals (the stunning "Keep Your Eyes Open," for example), they transform their three-way improvised abstractions into clear, singable music that has the sturdy narrative arc of classic country music.

As these journeys unfold, it becomes clear that right along with the spontaneity there's some deep intention at work. The stylistic juxtapositions and sudden changes in density are hardly random. Neither are the fragile little introductions—somehow they're all Frisell needs to telegraph where he's going. As in so many aspects of life, the tone is set from the top. © Tom Moon/Qobuz

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