Floratone

COMPOSERS: Floratone
LABELS: Blue Note
ALBUM TITLE: Floratone
PERFORMER: Matt Chamberlain (drums),
Bill Frisell (guitar), Tucker Martine,
Lee Townsend (production)

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CATALOGUE NO: 393 8792
The practice of recording several hours of improvisation and leaving it to producers to mould into something saleable goes back to the partnership of Miles Davis and Teo Macero, although only lately have producers claimed equal billing, as Tucker Martine and Lee Townsend do here. Although this method sacrifices the immediacy that has traditionally characterised jazz, it’s unobjectionable if it produces impressive music. Bill Frisell, capable of creating beauty of unbearable radiance or shuddering your bones (often simultaneously) has held my attention during most stages of his odyssey through Americana and beyond, but this mostly seems to be on autopilot. The producers reduce elegant tunes to mush and the occasional glimpses of what Frisell is capable of, as in the glorious smokestack-lightning of ‘Lousiana Lowboat’, only serve to intensify the disappointment.

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Barry Witherden