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Jazz - Released April 12, 2019 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Guitar and bass duos are a rewarding subgenre of jazz—pairings like Jim Hall/Ron Carter or Ralph Towner/Gary Peacock come to mind—that’s recently been dominated by the extrasensory connection between the perennially underrated Thomas Morgan and the do-it-all guitarist Bill Frisell. Despite a title derived from the Thelonious Monk-penned standard that’s covered here, jazz is not an accurate description of Morgan and Frisell's increasingly intrepid shared vision. The closest label would be a highly idiosyncratic version of Americana. There's a sinuous take on the iconic "Red River Valley" and a straighter reading of Monk but also dashes of Billy Strayhorn ("Lush Life") and Frank Sinatra ("In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning"), resulting in a mysterious, all-encompassing flavor. As proof of their wide-ranging tastes and ability to make any music their own, a fearless, unlikely mashup of "Wildwood Flower" (made famous by the Carter Family) and the Doc Pomus classic "Save The Last Dance for Me," somehow brings out the essence of both tunes. While Frisell’s signature meandering, idea-heavy, reverbed style provides the bones throughout the nine tracks, it’s Morgan who fills out the flesh. Recorded live in the basement of New York City's iconic Village Vanguard, Epistrophy highlights the close-miked richness of both Frisell's resonant guitar tones and Morgan's soft-edged bass contours. Except for the inevitable coughs that occur during the performances and modest applause between tunes, crowd noise here is largely absent, leaving the guitar and bass to naturally entwine in a wonderfully perceptive and creative dance. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 26, 2017 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
For the first time since his album Lookout For Hope released in 1988, Bill Frisell has appeared as the lead act on a record with ECM, the label with which he recorded In Line in 1983, his first disc, a duet with the Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen. Co-lead act, to be more precise, as the American guitarist once again plays a few duets with a double-bassist: Thomas Morgan, 30 years his junior, who played on his recent When You Wish Upon A Star. This Small Town, recorded in public on stage at Village Vanguard in New York, in March 2016, brings together pieces by Paul Motian, Lee Konitz, Fats Domino or even John Barry, with the theme from the film Goldfinger. An eclectic repertoire on which Frisell totally makes his colourful and impressionist mark. Master of space and silence, he lets plays his notes parsimoniously, and really integrates his collaborator's inspired bassline into his music. A music of utter beauty. © MZ/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 29, 1985 | ECM

This relatively early set from Bill Frisell is a fine showcase for the utterly unique guitarist. Frisell has the ability to play nearly any extroverted style of music and his humor (check out the date's "Music I Heard") is rarely far below the surface. This particular quintet (with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, tuba player Bob Stewart, electric bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Paul Motian) is not exactly short of original personalities and their outing (featuring seven Frisell compositions) is one of the most lively of all the ones in the ECM catalog. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 1, 1983 | ECM

This is the closest Bill Frisell has come to an actual solo album, though he is joined on half of the set by bass player Arild Andersen. Frisell's electric and acoustic guitars are multi-tracked throughout. The title piece uses light dissonances to especially shimmering and vibratory effect. IN LINE was produced by Manfred Eicher, whose customary pristine clarity makes an ideal setting for Frisell's subtly nuanced playing. Each of the nine pieces is distinct, but they also lend themselves to an over-arching feeling of connectedness. There is a real album identity to this work. Though quiet and meditative as both a guitarist and a composer, Frisell's style is broad enough to allow for a range of emotional settings--from introspective to celebratory. © TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 12, 2019 | ECM

Booklet
Guitar and bass duos are a rewarding subgenre of jazz—pairings like Jim Hall/Ron Carter or Ralph Towner/Gary Peacock come to mind—that’s recently been dominated by the extrasensory connection between the perennially underrated Thomas Morgan and the do-it-all guitarist Bill Frisell. Despite a title derived from the Thelonious Monk-penned standard that’s covered here, jazz is not an accurate description of Morgan and Frisell's increasingly intrepid shared vision. The closest label would be a highly idiosyncratic version of Americana. There's a sinuous take on the iconic "Red River Valley" and a straighter reading of Monk but also dashes of Billy Strayhorn ("Lush Life") and Frank Sinatra ("In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning"), resulting in a mysterious, all-encompassing flavor. As proof of their wide-ranging tastes and ability to make any music their own, a fearless, unlikely mashup of "Wildwood Flower" (made famous by the Carter Family) and the Doc Pomus classic "Save The Last Dance for Me," somehow brings out the essence of both tunes. While Frisell’s signature meandering, idea-heavy, reverbed style provides the bones throughout the nine tracks, it’s Morgan who fills out the flesh. Recorded live in the basement of New York City's iconic Village Vanguard, Epistrophy highlights the close-miked richness of both Frisell's resonant guitar tones and Morgan's soft-edged bass contours. Except for the inevitable coughs that occur during the performances and modest applause between tunes, crowd noise here is largely absent, leaving the guitar and bass to naturally entwine in a wonderfully perceptive and creative dance. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Contemporary Jazz - Released February 1, 1988 | ECM

Bill Frisell's early work even in its retrospectively rawest form holds all of the values that he has evinced through his entire career. Country and eastern sounds merge with a signature sky church electric approach that is unique unto only himself. Lookout for Hope brands Frisell as a visionary, a virtuoso, and a fusioneer of many sounds that set him far apart from labelmates Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, and Terje Rypdal. While both Frisell and Rypdal give giant kudos to Jimi Hendrix, there is a sense of peace and serenity that puts soulfulness on a different plane. Cellist Hank Roberts and bassist Kermit Driscoll have much to do with giving Frisell his head, weaving similar silver sounds in and through him. Then add Joey Baron's deft, precise, and colorful drumming to put the exclamation point on Frisell's new approach to improvised music. Where the haunting, ringing, rocking, strident sound of Hendrix is resurrected and modernized during the title selection, "Hang Dog" has the Afro-Asian minimalist resonance of Steve Reich accented in 7/8 time by Frisell's banjo. Nods to Ornette Coleman's puzzle-pieced surety on the peppy head arrangement of "The Animal Race" and the twangy, witty, cartoonish take of Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack" brands Frisell a true maverick and individualist. At its best, east and west merge someplace in between during the memorably beautiful overdubbed and echoing sounds on "Lonesome," while the slight yet sincere expectation evinced on "Animal Prints" is the seamless and alluring alchemy of natural, spiritual, and ethereal. With Lookout for Hope, Bill Frisell is not so much setting trends and fashion as he is establishing a fresh sound, utterly unique from all others, and laying a foundation for many things to come. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 29, 2002 | ECM

Booklet
Bill Frisell has made 14 sideman appearances on ECM but only three records as a leader on the label. His Rarum collection spans the 1980s, highlighting his earlier years. Paul Motian figures prominently in this story, as leader, composer, and sideman; "Mandeville," the leadoff track, is from 1981's Psalm, featuring Motian and Frisell with Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, and Ed Schuller. Two more Motian tracks follow, then Jan Garbarek's "Singsong," which finds Frisell wailing. Tracks five through 11 feature Frisell as leader and composer: First there's the title cut from his 1982 debut, In Line, a multi-tracked acoustic piece, then three selections from Rambler and three more from Lookout for Hope. The transition from the wacky, banjo-driven "Hangdog" to Kenny Wheeler's "Kind of Gentle" is jarring, but no matter. Nearly a decade separates these two pieces, and it's interesting to hear Frisell, by the mid-'90s, favoring a clean, unprocessed tone (indicative, perhaps, of his growing interest in country music). After offering a quick peek at the 1986 Paul Bley Quartet (in which Motian reappears), Frisell closes with a brilliant stroke: a piece that doesn't feature him at all. Bassist Gavin Bryars wrote "Sub Rosa," from a 1993 disc called Vita Nova, in honor of Frisell. Playing the gorgeous, quasi-classical work is an ensemble of recorder, clarinet, violin, vibraphone, piano, and bass. "I sometimes have dreams of music like this," writes Frisell in his comically self-effacing liner notes. © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 19, 1988 | ECM

Good representations of creative impulses. Not definitive, but a good point of reference. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 15, 2019 | ECM

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Bill Frisell in the magazine