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Jazz - Released February 19, 1993 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Bill Frisell has long been one of the most unique guitarists around. Able to switch on a moment's notice from sounding like a Nashville studio player to heavy metal, several styles of jazz, and just pure noise, Frisell can get a remarkable variety of sounds and tones out of his instrument. This set features Frisell in a quintet with Don Byron (on clarinet and bass clarinet), Guy Klucevsek on accordion, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Joey Baron. To call the repertoire wide-ranging would be an understatement. In addition to eight melodies from Aaron Copland's Billy the Kid, Frisell and company explore (and often reinvent) pieces written by Charles Ives, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Madonna, Sonny Rollins, Stephen Foster, and John Phillip Sousa. This is one of the most inventive recordings of the 1990s and should delight most listeners from any genre. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 14, 1999 | Nonesuch

No doubt pleased with his countrified direction on Gone, Just Like a Train, Bill Frisell gives us a lot more of basically the same thing here -- only with expanded numbers in the ranks. Bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner return, now accompanied by Wayne Horvitz's understated organ and piano; Greg Leisz on an assortment of fretted instruments, including the Dobro, pedal steel guitar and mandolin; and on "Shenandoah," Ry Cooder's atmospheric guitars. The first tracks of Good Dog, Happy Man pick up right where Gone, Just Like a Train left off -- low-key, perhaps too low-key -- but tracks like "Big Shoe" and "Cadillac 1959" add a bit of swagger to the lope and "Poem for Eva" sports the best tune. Again, Frisell often captures a loose, evolutionary jamming quality in these sessions, playing the country accents off of his jazz sensibilities. Unlike its predecessor, though, you can't imagine this being recorded on a backwoods front porch, for there are some production tricks and distant-sounding electronic loops that give away its Burbank studio origins. Purists on either side of the jazz/country divide are hereby warned to back off so that the rest of us can enjoy this. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 17, 2009 | Nonesuch

Booklet
Disfarmer was an outsider artist who became famous for his Depression-era photographs of families, farmers, and individuals around his hometown of Heber Springs, AR. This is set by Bill Frisell is the score commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts to accompany a retrospective of the artist's work. Frisell and producer Lee Townsend assembled the guitarist's "country" band for the occasion: violinist Jenny Scheinman, bassist Viktor Krauss, and steel guitarist and mandolinist Greg Leisz. There are 26 cues in this score. Most of them are very sparse, skeletally melodic variations on old-timey parlor music, country blues, and country music, with a few, such as "That's All Right, Mama," done as fusions of hillbilly boogie and square dance music. There's a version of Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" that's a showcase for the atmospheric power of Leisz's steel guitar, which adds to the melodic shades of the tune. Most of this, however, falls into moody, extremely minimal music that is haunting in nature -- much like the figure of Disfarmer himself, who scared many of the residents of Heber Springs with his strange and imposing presence. That said, if only Frisell's music were a bit more imposing. This approach of his is so familiar by now that the listener knows exactly what to expect from cue to cue. Tempos vary little, from slow to almost static, and the lyric palette is extremely narrow. In their restraint, the players are all excellent, but nobody here, not even Frisell, shines. Still, it is a pleasant recording to listen to if not hang on to. It floats and hovers about the room as a peaceful backdrop. Disfarmer is to be taken as a soundtrack rather than as a Frisell album proper, and listened to as a series of sketches rather than as a fully assembled statement from the artist. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 16, 2001 | Nonesuch

From the beginning of Blues Dream, the listener knows that something special is going on. The spare notes of Ron Miles' trumpet and the relaxed guitar work of Greg Leisz lay the groundwork for a spacious sound on the title cut. This openness remains throughout the album, even when alto and trombone are added into the mix. The instrumental "Ron Carter" begins with the loose, electrified feel of an early Miles Davis fusion piece, with Bill Frisell's distorted guitar exploring the space of the piece without resorting to excessive volume. The short and sweet "Pretty Stars Were Made to Shine" leans heavier on the country side, with steel guitar and Chet Atkins' fingerpicking dominating. The arrangements on Blues Dream are a big change from last year's solo effort, Ghost Town. An essential part of the overall sound is Leisz' steel guitar and lap steel work. He also played with Frisell on Good Dog, Happy Man, and helps to set the mood and pace throughout Blues Dream. Ron Miles plays a smaller role, but it is fascinating how well his relaxed trumpet, with its carefully chosen notes, fits into the mix on the title cut and the short "Episode." Blues Dream is a perfectly chosen title: the material, steeped in the blues, is approached in a lazy, dreamlike fashion. Frisell's fondness for putting unusual combinations of instruments together adds to the overall effect, leaving the listener to wonder why no one has ever tried this before. Blues Dream is a lovely release that should satisfy Frisell fans as well as jazz, country, and blues fans looking for a genre-bending experience. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 14, 1997 | Nonesuch

The vague country elements long dwelling on the fringes of Bill Frisell's music rise to the forefront on Nashville, an exquisitely atmospheric collection recorded in Music City with the aid of dobro legend Jerry Douglas, Union Station members Adam Steffey and Ron Block, and Lyle Lovett & His Large Band's bassist Viktor Krauss. Produced by Wayne Horvitz, the record is both genuine and alien -- while played with real affection for the country form and without any avant posturing, its sound is original and distinct, a cinematic variation on C&W tenets. While primarily instrumental and comprised largely of Frisell originals, Nashville does welcome vocalist Robin Holcomb for a pair of more traditional numbers -- Hazel Dickens' "Will Jesus Wash the Bloodstains from Your Hands" and the Skeeter Davis hit "The End of the World" -- as well as a cover of Neil Young's "One of These Days." © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 27, 2008 | Nonesuch

Booklet
That Bill Frisell should get the "best-of" treatment from his longtime label Nonesuch seems overdue, even strangely so. Frisell began recording for Elektra Musician in 1986 after leaving ECM Records, where he'd recorded a steady string of generally excellent but somewhat low profile albums. Elektra owned Nonesuch Records as well. When Musician ceased to function as a label, Frisell's contract was morphed into the Elektra Nonesuch imprint, and eventually once more into Nonesuch, then Elektra Asylum, then back to Nonesuch. In other words, Frisell has been working with the WEA family for over two decades. In that time he has released no less than 20 albums for the various labels under WEA's corporate umbrella. Which brings us to this 15-cut issue, a first volume in series of retrospective recordings subtitled "Folk Songs." Equally at home in the avant-garde or playing bop, Frisell's chops as a jazz guitarist are well documented, and since he began his work with Nonesuch in particular, his penchant for playing classic American songs from the country, folk, and blues idioms has been heard voluminously as well. This selection has been assembled from albums released between 1989's Is That You? and 1992's Have a Little Faith (an album comprised exclusively of covers) through to 2002's The Willies, with some recordings completely left undocumented here. (We can presume they will be represented in other volumes.) What is here is a set of originals and covers that actively reflect Frisell's deep fascination with American folksong regardless of initial genre -- in his universe it all comes out sounding like him anyway. Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is juxtaposed with the scampy original "Raccoon Cat," which precedes the traditional "Sugar Baby." The relaxed newgrass country of "We're Not from Around Here," with Jerry Douglas on dobro and Victor Krauss on bass, precedes the original "The Pioneers" recorded with banjoist Danny Barnes, formerly of punk bluegrass outfit the Bad Livers and bassist Keith Lowe. The Frisell composition "Ballroom" is sandwiched between a gorgeous reading of the traditional "Shenandoah" and a reverential yet mournful version of John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me." The music, whether blues or country or identifiable as "folk," is all of a piece, both Frisell and producer Lee Townsend seem to be saying, this is part of what the guitarist does and it's a big and valuable part that draws both inspiration from the soil as well as from the root sources these tunes are either composed from or come from on their own. This is basically the softer and more controversial side of Frisell -- though there are some surprises -- and the one that has registered most popular with listeners who buy CDs. There are three tracks here from the very laid-back and melodic Good Dog, Happy Man, and a pair from Nashville, two of his most successful recordings. But this is a beautiful taste as well as a new way to listen to the way Frisell's own music meets that of the masters, and he acquits himself well. This is a terrific sampler even if it only presents a sliver of the artist's range. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 6, 1998 | Nonesuch

Drawing from all over the musical spectrum, Frisell selects drummer Jim Keltner (best known for his records with George Harrison, Eric Clapton and other rock stars) and bassist Viktor Krauss (a fixture in Lyle Lovett's country band), and comes up with an immensely likable, easy-grooving CD that defies one to put a label on it. If anything, Frisell leans toward a drawling country twang heavily indebted to Chet Atkins in his guitar work here, but there is a freewheeling jazz sensibility at work on every track. Keltner contributes the heavy rock element with his emphatic strokes, occasionally pushing Frisell in that direction on the title track and the lengthy "Lookout for Hope." Yet Keltner is also capable of surprising subtlety, and Krauss provides firm, unflashy underpinning. Above all, this is thoughtful, free-thinking, ear-friendly jamming that was recorded in bustling Burbank, CA. but sounds as if it was laid down in a relaxed cabin in the hills. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 25, 2000 | Nonesuch

While Bill Frisell has released plenty of albums under his own name, this is his first true solo album -- the first on which he plays all of the instruments himself. These include electric and acoustic guitar, six-string banjo, and bass, as well as the occasional looped sample. To call the music he creates on this album "introspective" would be something of an understatement. This won't come as a complete surprise to his fans -- there has always been a gentle and meditative quality to his music, and even when he's gotten wild with his trio or with downtown pals like John Zorn or Vernon Reid, those moments of abrasive abandon have always seemed like detours from his more natural, but no less inventive and interesting, sweetness and good humor. But there's a darkness around the edges this time out that is unusual, as if he's lonely playing by himself and a little bit unnerved at the thoughts and feelings he's being forced to face on his own. His rendition of the A.P. Carter classic "Wildwood Flower" starts out with an extended Delta-blues introduction, which is a pretty unusual choice. There are other cover versions, including Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," both of which deeply explore the emotional wreckage described by the songs' lyrics; his own compositions, such as the vaguely surfy "Variation on a Theme" and the slightly ominous "Big Bob," seem to be cut out of similar cloth. There are moments of light relief, such as the gently lovely title track and the brief banjo interlude "Fingers Snappin' and Toes Tappin'," but the overall mood here is relatively dark, though consistently beautiful. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 25, 2006 | Nonesuch

It's hard to imagine that Bill Frisell at 55 is the youngster of this group. But he is by a long shot. Not that it matters in terms of musicality; rather, it's that younger modernism and its involvement with different musical genres that make Frisell such a welcome foil for the likes of two heavyweights like Paul Motian and Ron Carter. To say that this album is all over the place is an understatement. Just look at the tunes: from the slippery little grooving blues of "Eighty-One" by Carter and his former boss Miles Davis to the ditty "You Are My Sunshine" by Jimmie Davis, Thelonious Monk's "Raise Four" and "Misterioso," and traditional tunes like "Pretty Polly" and Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." These are just a few, but what they prove is everything. These three musicians sound so comfortable, it's like they've been playing together for years. There is great humor in the approach on some of these tunes, such as Carter taking a boogie break near the end of "Eighty-One," or the tight little counterpoint between Motian and Frisell on "Raise Four." The question as to whether the record swings or not is moot -- it does but in a very different and gentle manner. Those who have decried Frisell's move toward country music in the last decade or so needn't be worried; no matter how songs are played (and they are played as songs), this is fully a jazz date with plenty of improvisation and strange asides. Motian's musicality is one more element of the great edge this band has. He's always pushing, however gently, always singing on his kit. The rapport between Motian and Carter is wonderful on Lerner & Loewe's "On the Street Where You Live," and he and Frisell are nearly symbiotic -- check Frisell's "Monroe," or the Williams tune, or better yet the angles and corners on "Misterioso," where they paint themselves into such a tight corner it seems they'll never get out. With Carter's solid time, they weave a tapestry that's as rich and humorous as Monk's, and he's snapping his fingers wherever he is now. This is a solid and unexpected surprise from a brilliantly conceived collaboration. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 15, 2008 | Nonesuch

Booklet
History, Mystery is among Bill Frisell's most eclectic yet accessible projects. Produced by longtime ally Lee Townsend, this double-disc, 90-minute, 30-piece suite encompasses the full range of Frisell's musical past and his influences, obsessions, and storylike vision. It is performed by a star-studded octet that includes trumpeter Ron Miles, saxophonist Greg Tardy, and a string section featuring Eyvind Kang, Jenny Scheinman, and Hank Roberts, with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen in the rhythm section. History, Mystery dances across entire musical landscapes: bebop/post-bop, Malian folk music, tangos, Delta blues, modern classical music, vintage soul, and rock. The source material for this recording was compiled from a multimedia collaboration with artist Jim Woodring called Mysterio Sympatico in 2002 and recorded during a tour. The rest was recorded for Stories from the Heart of the Land, a 2007 series on National Public Radio. Frisell composed most of this work, but his own "history" is revealed in his choice of covers: Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," "Jackie-Ing" by Thelonious Monk, "Sub-Conscious Lee" by Lennie Tristano, and "Baba Drame" by Malian guitar legend Boubacar Traoré. The sense of "mystery" is in just how these various sources are melded in a multi-textured tapestry of sound. Balance for this work is achieved in the strength of its arrangements, and the glue that binds them together is the string section. Its role is pivotal: it anchors the listener through its many stylistic and textural changes. The notion of "history" here is also revealed in the way songs are juxtaposed. For instance, a soul tune like "A Change Is Gonna Come" actually precedes a knotty yet swinging bop number like "Jackie-Ing." Non-American sources are cited, too. The nuevo tango-inspired "Probability Cloud" is the theme that bookends disc one. It begins as a digital guitar soundscape before an Astor Piazzolla-inspired tango comes to the fore in the strings. Traoré's droning desert blues "Baba Drame features an interlude that evokes late-19th century Spanish folk music, itself inspired by the chants and sung prayers of the Moors centuries before. Disc two engages themes, departures, and returns in numerous ways: the haunting, near-ambient "Monroe," with guitar and viola in the forefront; the spectral "Lazy Robinson" that floats between carnival music and modern classical composition with a rock backbeat (in waltz tempo); and the two-part "Answer," a strange, nightmarish, and disorienting sketch where the strings play an actual counterforce to Frisell's guitar. The music here is very adventurous and exploratory yet completely accessible. "Faces," with its traces of Gil Evans and Igor Stravinsky, contrasts wonderfully with the tough bebop in "Sub-Conscious Lee (itself furthered by Scheinman's violin referencing Stéphane Grapelli's Gypsy swing). "Waltz for Baltimore" places the grittiness of Tardy's guttural rhythm & blues honk against Frisell's elegant, modernist jazz chords; they are both made slightly surreal by Scheinman's violin, playing a minimal loop that bridges and yet displaces eras in ether. History, Mystery is an ambitious work; it's full of elliptical, riveting moments, shape-shifting colors, and multivalent textures. Frisell's inherent love of formal lyricism, expansive harmonics, and divergent musical histories reflects his tireless passion for tracing sources. In composing his own material, he also interprets and arranges his sources. On History, Mystery he achieves musical alchemy; he creates something new from familiar, exotic, and even forgotten forms, providing listeners with a magical aural experience. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 24, 2004 | Nonesuch

With the exception of 2003's Intercontinentals, Bill Frisell had been playing it pretty safe for some time, sticking to his own personal vision of variations on the Americana theme (with nearly all of those albums being produced by Lee Townsend, by the way). Well, a change of producers often means a change of pace, and teaming up with eclectic producer Hal Willner for Unspeakable seems to have gotten the creative juices flowing again. Their working relationship goes back a long ways, all the way back to the Amarcord Nino Rota tribute from the early '80s. The use of a string section on more than three-fourths of the tunes already adds a different flavor to this album, but the fact that Frisell and Willner seem to have taken inspiration from the sounds of classic soul music is what really sets this apart from others in the Frisell catalog. Not only that, but Frisell's delays return in a more prominent role and he offers up some of his fiercest playing in years. There are a handful of introspective pieces that feature just the strings and guitar, with some slight sonic embellishments from Willner. The majority of the tunes, however, sound something like Bill Frisell scoring the music to Superfly! The soul grooves are tough to miss, but with this cast of players, it comes off like some cinematic offshoot of soul music. The grooves are fantastic, and Frisell really rises to the occasion, bringing back the delays, nasty distorted tone, and ugly harmonics that have been largely absent from his more recent releases. There are still lots of lovely sounds, but it's great to hear him stretching out a bit more again. Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen have not only served as Frisell's rhythm section in the past, but they also play together in Sex Mob. Sometimes aided by Don Alias, they really drive the tunes, with the strings and occasional horns punctuating the melody and Frisell's guitars floating all over the place. Willner's use of turntables and samplers adds some great sounds to the mix, sometimes adding an almost exotica flavor. It's all quite accessible, but fans with delicate ears may be put off by some of the noisier moments on the album, like the keyboard (?) sound on "Stringbean" or the guitar solo on "Old Sugar Bear." Other fans will be delighted to hear such a glorious din on a Bill Frisell record again. After so much of a similar thing, it's just great to hear Frisell being pushed in a new direction (and quite a fun one, at that). Recommended. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 9, 2005 | Nonesuch

The allusion of the title East/West is an apt one; this live double-CD set is a study in contrasts. Recorded just six months apart with two different trios, Bill Frisell really shows both sides of his musical personality. The "East" disc was recorded in December of 2003 at the Village Vanguard with Frisell on guitar (acoustic and electric) and loops, Tony Sherr on acoustic bass and a bit of acoustic guitar, and Kenny Wollesen on drums and percussion. The program here consists largely of well-known standards with a couple brief improvisations and a single Frisell composition. The "West" disc was recorded at Yoshi's in May of 2004 and features Frisell (guitars, loops), Viktor Krauss (acoustic bass), and, well, Kenny Wollesen on drums (no other percussion), but this time the program is half Frisell compositions, a couple pop songs, and the traditional "Shenandoah." On the "East" disc, only three of the ten tunes are longer than five minutes, but on the "West" disc only one track is shorter than eight minutes! The preponderance of standards on the "East" disc keeps the players mostly on the inside tip, even eliciting laughter from some audience members when Frisell hits the intro to the old warhorse "People" (to which he replies, "you think I'm joking or what?"). They do loosen up a bit at the end, for a wonderful arrangement of Willie Nelson's "Crazy" with two acoustic guitars and looping aural detritus, and there's a fun gallop through "Tennessee Flat Top Box." The group improvisations also add a bit of spark. Folks who discovered Frisell in the late '90s with albums like Nashville are going to love this set. Then there are the folks who discovered Frisell in the '80s as a major player in the downtown new music scene along with folks like John Zorn and Wayne Horvitz (fellow bandmates in the groundbreaking and genre-smashing Naked City band). For them, Frisell seemed to be losing his edge a bit as his trademark skronk was traded for acoustic textures. Richter 858 and the Grammy-winning (!) Unspeakable saw him revisiting that earlier sound to some degree, mainly through more extensive use of delays and loops, but the "West" disc here shows he's really back. "Heard It Through the Grapevine" starts out a bit slow, but right from the outset the delay plays a large role, ping-ponging ugly harmonics back and forth as an intro before hitting the first verse. It gradually picks up momentum, until the delays return and Frisell adopts a roaring backward-sounding tone for the end. "Blues for Los Angeles" has even more great looping, some pretty menacing sounds, and some fantastic soloing. "Pipe Down" (originally on Nashville) gets a much slower deconstructed treatment, then kicks into high gear with a serious groove. This set is way more adventurous than the "East" one, and might surprise some old fans who haven't been paying close attention of late. Frisell retreats a bit from the edge for the last track, a nice reading of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" where the delay plays little to no role. With both bands, the rhythm section offers great support, but interestingly, Tony Scherr gets a bit of solo space while Viktor Krauss gets none. Then there's the fact that the album is called East/West, but the "West" disc (the later of the dates) is programmed as the first disc, so you listen to the sets in reverse chronological order as well as the opposite of what the title implies (perhaps "West/East" would have been more appropriate). And while this set is indeed a study in contrast, the common thread is the absolute guitar mastery and singular style and tone of Frisell. His use of double stops, open string voicings, and chordal leads in his playing, not to mention that slippery tone, makes him one of the most recognizable voices in music no matter what the context. And it's clear that Frisell is at home in any context, from playing chestnuts like "The Days of Wine and Roses" to John Zorn speed metal. The fairly naked trio context of East/West really gives the listener a chance to appreciate exactly what he can do, no matter which musical direction they're coming from. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 2, 2001 | Nonesuch

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Jazz - Released May 13, 2002 | Nonesuch

Echoing his 1995 release, Nashville, Bill Frisell's The Willies revisits the auburn sounds of American roots music. Although he has dipped into folk music in prior efforts, these songs follow the traditional mode even more faithfully than any of his previous releases, with only minor shifts into his familiar dissonant explorations. Assisted by Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo and guitar and bassist Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, Wayne Horvitz & Zony Mash), Frisell's quirky tonalities and sweeping soundscapes still pervade each track, but the disquieting surges found on releases like The Bill Frisell Quartet and Gone, Just Like a Train are relatively reigned in. This in no way means that The Willies sounds anything like Hot Rize or New Grass Revival -- it is most certainly a Bill Frisell album; dark and mysterious, eerily beautiful, richly textured and layered -- just sort of a kinder, gentler Bill Frisell album. Highlights include the banjo-driven Carter Family standard "Single Girl, Married Girl" and the group's stark rendition of "Sugar Baby," a song usually associated with the similarly haunting Dock Boggs. Anyone familiar with the guitarist's style will understand his choices in recording these timeworn love songs and murder ballads, and traditional folk aficionados will be intrigued to hear their old favorites in this new environment. © Zac Johnson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 4, 1998 | Nonesuch

At first glance, the combination of pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Bill Frisell as a duo might not seem all that logical, particularly if one relies on stereotypes that only fit part of their music (i.e., Hersch is an introspective player in the Bill Evans vein, while Frisell is a sound-oriented guitarist influenced by rock). In reality, both Hersch and Frisell are well-rounded, versatile players who share an adventurous spirit and a strong musical curiosity. The nature of their collaboration is a bit of a surprise; rather than playing originals specifically written for the occasion, Hersch and Frisell simply decided to perform songs that they have enjoyed for many years but have rarely had a chance to record. Few sparks fly; most of the quiet duets are quite relaxed, and although perfectly suitable as high-quality background music, this encounter is a slight disappointment. Considering the two giants involved, one would expect something fresh and original to emerge when they explore such songs as "There Is No Greater Love," "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," "I Got Rhythm" and "What Is This Thing Called Love." A bit forgettable. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 5, 1996 | Nonesuch

Guitarist Bill Frisell has become well-known for his eccentric and highly versatile style. Able to sound like Jim Hall, a heavy metal player, or a Nashville studio guitarist at a moment's notice, Frisell has created sounds on the guitar that have never been heard before. This CD uses a rather unusual instrumentation, a quartet comprised of Frisell, trumpeter Ron Miles, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and Eyvind Kang, who doubles on violin and tuba. Ten of the 13 Frisell originals on the release were originally written for films (including one for Gary Larson, "Tales from the Far Side," and one for a Buster Keaton movie "Convict 13"), and the resulting music is tightly arranged yet spontaneous, episodic, and sometimes a bit nutty, but also strangely logical. Whether it be the old-timey theme to "Dead Ranch," the blues in "Convict 13," a few somber ballads, or hints at early Duke Ellington (particularly by Miles' wah-wah trumpet), this is a continually interesting, offbeat set. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 24, 1989 | Nonesuch

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Jazz - Released October 11, 1991 | Nonesuch

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Jazz - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

In 1995, Bill Frisell released an instrumental album composed for Buster Keaton's films High Sign and One Week. The disc acts as the live accompaniment to the silent films, much like seeing them in their original release form. High Sign was the first film Keaton made independently, and portrays a director as a loner looking for work. One Week was his first publicly released film (and one of the top grossing hits of the 1920s), and is about a man who receives a build-it-yourself house from his new bride. Both films include some classic Buster Keaton moments, including a chase through a series of trapdoors and mishaps due to incorrect homebuilding directions. The original soundtrack recording includes Kermit Driscoll on acoustic and electric basses and Joey Baron on percussion. Frisell and his band performed the music to all three films at St. Ann's in Brooklyn, NY, in May of 1993. The warmly recorded albums are adventurous and evocative. Critics described Frisell's inspired episodic work with Keaton's films as "deceptively modest" and "melancholy Americana." These rich narrative accompaniments are essential for students of film music and evangelists of the power of the score to enrich and enlighten visual art. The group also wrote an original score to the Keaton film Go West. © JT Griffith /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

In 1995, Bill Frisell released an instrumental album composed for Buster Keaton's films, Go West. The disc acts as the live accompaniment to the silent films, much like seeing them in their original release form. Go West is a Buster Keaton classic often compared to the Charlie Chaplin classics. The story follows a down-and-out Midwesterner following Horace Greeley's adage "Go West, young man!" Classic hilarity in this film includes a milking scene and a card game. (Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle makes an in-drag cameo.) The original soundtrack recording also includes Kermit Driscoll on acoustic and electric basses and Joey Barron on percussion. Frisell and his band performed the music to all three films at St. Ann's in Brookly, NY, in May of 1993. The warmly recorded albums are adventurous and evocative. Critics described Bill Frisell's inspired episodic work with Keaton's films as "deceptively modest" and "melancholy Americana. These rich narrative accompaniments are essential for students of cinema music and evangelists of the power of the score to enrich and enlighten visual art. The group also wrote an original score to the Keaton films High Sign and One Week. © JT Griffith /TiVo

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Bill Frisell in the magazine