Bill Frisell

COMPOSERS: Bill Frisell
LABELS: Nonesuch
WORKS: Quartet
PERFORMER: Bill Frisell (g), Ron Miles (t), Eyvind Kang (viola, tuba), Curtis Fowlkes (trb)
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79401-2
Bill Frisell’s off-kilter view of American music makes him an unlikely guitar hero. His distinctive, improvised interpretation of Copland or Ives, and scores for Buster Keaton and Gary Larson films, have won him a bigger audience than most abstractionists dream of. Perhaps it is the pathos which permeates his work that is so appealing; or maybe the poignant curlicues which temper his power trio playing. Now he has moved on and Quartet’s unusual sound should win him new fans. The tunes are short, with a characteristically lugubrious air, and borrow from his country blues influences (‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ rears its head more than once). His arrangements, tight and etched with counterpoint from the brass and strings, are untypically symmetrical, however. Sharp angles and obtuse turns have been replaced by measured solos and mellifluous harmonies. Frisell himself makes less use of dissonant electronic effects and instead gives the group a warm, natural sound by use of the acoustic guitar. It is jazz, but only as Bill Frisell knows it. GB