Bill Frisell: Guitar In The Space Age!

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COMPOSERS: Bill Frisell
LABELS: Okeh
WORKS: Guitar In The Space Age!
PERFORMER: Bill Frisell (electric guitar), Greg Leisz (pedal steel), Tony Scherr (bass) etc
CATALOGUE NO: 88843074612

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Bill Frisell is to modern jazz what the graphic novel is to modern literature. There’s a sense of pastiche in his treatment of popular songs and his own tunes that belies more deeply felt music. His albums frequently have a vivid theme, for example the cartoons of Gary Larsen or Depression-era photography and he loves Americana.

So a journey into Cold War period space age, with its big chrome-finned cars and twanging guitars was only a matter of time. He’s said it felt right to play the music that shaped his consciousness during his formative years. Here he tackles some key moments, which include a swinging take on the 1960 R&B hit ‘Messin’ with the Kid’ and the use of reverberating power chords on the ’58 rockabilly instrumental ‘Rumble’. Meanwhile, he swoons over Brian Wilson’s sugary ballad ‘Surfer Girl’. Frisell’s singularly distorted post-rock guitar sound, augmented by Leisz’s pedal steel, is just perfect for this material. You’ll want to join him, lost in space.

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Garry Booth