Search - Bill Frisell :: Before We Were Born

Before We Were Born
Bill Frisell
Before We Were Born
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Guitarist Bill Frisell keeps shifting his supporting players on these 1988 recordings. The only track with just his working band of the period--Hank Roberts on cello, Kermit Driscoll on bass, and Joey Baron on drums--is th...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: Bill Frisell
Title: Before We Were Born
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Nonesuch
Original Release Date: 3/28/1989
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075596084321, 075596084314, 075596084345, 075596084369, 075597990218

Guitarist Bill Frisell keeps shifting his supporting players on these 1988 recordings. The only track with just his working band of the period--Hank Roberts on cello, Kermit Driscoll on bass, and Joey Baron on drums--is the extended "Hard Plains Drifter," arranged by John Zorn. It's late-night spinning of the radio dial where most of the stations play country, but the tempos keep changing and the signals keep blurring, sometimes into avant-rock. The other major work is "Some Song and Dance," which adds three saxophones to the regular band for a four-part suite bracketed by the accelerated carnival of "Freddy's Step" and the spy movie intrigue of "Goodbye." In between, the slow and bluesy "Love Motel" makes effective use of altoist Julius Hemphill's funk-band roots, and Hemphill and Roberts find kaleidoscopic ways to stretch the jerky line of "Pip, Squeak." Frisell and Baron are joined by the team of Arto Lindsay on guitar and Peter Scherrer on keyboards for the eerie, shifting terrain of the title track and "The Lone Ranger," while Lindsay adds his transparent voice to "Steady, Girl," mixing Brazilian airiness with some edgy guitar notes. While the bands change, this is consistently Frisell, and he keeps finding new combinations and dimensions in his work. --Stuart Broomer

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

One of my favorite Frisell albums
C. Robinson | San Mateo, CA | 12/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I first got into Bill Frisell in the early 90's, when he was touted as the new Jimi Hendrix who played jazz with the sensitivity of Jim Hall. So I bought this album almost 10 years ago, expecting to hear what Hendrix might sound like 'now' had he lived.I was not disappointed. If you're looking for some avante garde ripping, this is a great place to be. An excellent example of the 'downtown' scene in Manhattan at the time...eerie & mysterious one minute, free jamming out the window the next, then bouncing along like a Saturday morning cartoon...exciting stuff.This effect is demonstrated most obviously by the standout track 'Hard Plains Drifter', a John Zorn 'index card' arrangement (along the same lines as 'Spillane' or 'Godard'), where the band plays a dozen or so musical 'sound bites' (the index cards); one may be country, another punk, another avante garde spooky, etc. The 'index cards' are then shuffled, reordered, and reassembled in the studio to produce an effect not unlike quick, late-night channel surfing in the David Lynch Motel.Technical/conceptual details aside, its an incendary performance, featuring some of Frisell's best country/punk riffing and some unforgettable, over-the-top drumming by the incredible Joey Baron.Also not to be missed is Frisell's soaring, gut-bucket blues solo on 'Love Motel', Hank Roberts' virtuosic ensemble playing on 'Pip, Squeak' (how on earth does he keep up with that melody?), plus a ton of intense, creepy scratching & scraping on nearly every other track. This is a great album if you're into the guitar, early 90's avante garde, or a long-time fan of Bill Frisell. Although not life-changing in the way, say, 'A Love Supreme' is life-changing (so only 4 stars), it simply must be heard to be believed."
A masterpiece
Jeremy | 01/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bill Frisell is a musician's musician. His playing has emotional depth and technical brilliance in equal measure. Ferocious, serene, melancholic, playful... Bill travels through diverse musical territories unexplored by most of his contemporaries. A true original. His skills as a composer and arranger are equally stunning. This was my first Bill Frisell recording. After the first 15 or 20 seconds of the first track, I had to start it over again. I couldn't believe my ears! The sound was unlike anything I'd ever heard. A huge, cosmic sound. Shattering. I still get chills thinking about it. I find the rapid movement through styles to be a plus, not a minus. It shows Bill's incredible versatility. The one exception is the long Zorn-produced track, which I usually skip (although I am a fan of Naked City).If you are interested in Bill Frisell, this disc is a great place to start."
Lovblad | Geneva, Switzerland | 05/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I bought this CD back when it was first released it was a complete revelation. It made me discover both Bill Frisell enad John Zorn. The guitar playing is extremely varied as it would be when I saw them on tour at Montreux. John zorn at one point screamed at the protesting audience: "If you want commercial music, go see George Benson". A lot of people left but it was a fantastic concert or two concerts actually, first Frisell then more or less Naked City. On this record you can indeed hear what would come out stronger on the Naked City records. Very experimental music varying from almost ambient music to aggressive thrash metal, all while remaining very much in the spirit of jazz. The sound is n ot really perfect, being slightly too shrill and should be redone (if it has not been).Otherwise it is a fantastic record...recommended. 6 stars."