COMPOSERS: Bill Frisell
LABELS: Savoy Jazz
PERFORMER: Bill Frisell (guitar), Eyvind Kang (viola), Rudy Royston (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: SVY17799
After more than 20 releases on the Nonesuch label, idiosyncratic guitarist Bill Frisell has moved to the venerable Savoy imprint. Followers will be relieved to hear that he’s not altered his oblique technique nor lost his yen for obscure Americana.
In a programme consisting mostly of yawing original compositions and shimmering reinterpretations of quirky numbers like ‘Keep On The Sunny Side’, Frisell has pulled out another plum. Kang’s melancholy viola is a perfect complement to Frisell’s arch bathos, while Royston’s drum work combines simplicity with sensitivity.
Producer Lee Townsend lights the sound using a spectrum ranging from sepia tones to full blown Technicolor. Frisell is the (reticent) star, of course, simultaneously seeming on the brink of a pratfall and yet so surefooted as he paces out his tunes. No one sounds quite like Bill Frisell – and it’s a testament to his art that no one even tries to. Garry Booth