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Jazz - Verschenen op 14 augustus 2020 | Blue Note Records
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
Jazz - Verschenen op 16 maart 2018 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks
Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
The guitar isn’t the most used instrument among jazzmen, and revolutionary guitarists are quite logically very seldom. Bill Frisell is lucky enough to be one of them. Year after year (with a career spanning four decades!) and album after album (over forty records under his name, and three hundred as a sideman!), the American has imposed his singular voice, one of the most influential of the last twenty years. Frisell quickly set himself apart from his elders by taking his – instantly recognisable – style onto every possible repertoire. Post bop, free, noise, rock, country, 50s music, he dove into an incredible amount of partitions while staying true to his language and his style − simply put: remaining himself. Yet Music IS isn’t just another album designed to build up his already dense discography. He who shares his music first and foremost, felt the need to express himself on a solo project, a context he’s never really been fond of, often admitting in interviews that he gave his first solo concert years after starting his professional career… But Music IS is the result of a need to play, on acoustic and electric guitar, his own music. After revisiting the music of others, Bill Frisell has decided in this 2018 opus to gather new as well as older themes, some he hadn’t played for years. Listening to these fifteen tracks in one go is like travelling in the colourful meanders of this exceptional musician’s brain. Whether he refines his phrases to the extreme like his master Jim Hall, launches in oversaturated hand-to-hand fights or performs Americana in his own impressionistic way, Bill Frisell delivers improvisations of eternal beauty. Even though this album may feel like a testament piece, Music IS is the work of an artist more alive than ever. And without a doubt one of his most beautiful albums. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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