Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
For his first recording under his own name, Bill Frisell, then ECM Records house guitarist, presented nine of his compositions in the most personal way, going it alone on four pieces with just overdubs of his guitars and p... more »
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For his first recording under his own name, Bill Frisell, then ECM Records house guitarist, presented nine of his compositions in the most personal way, going it alone on four pieces with just overdubs of his guitars and playing the other five in duet with bassist Arild Andersen. The 1982 recording is a remarkable debut, filled with such light and calm that its originality might go overlooked. Frisell was already defining an original style in the mix of acoustic and electronic elements, simplifying melodic materials while bending pitch toward another dimension. There are new relationships between time and technology, too, with time slowing down, multiplying, and building up in layers. Frisell uses chorus and delay to expand his musical universe, shaping the envelope of his guitar sound to suggest backward movement and heighten the impression of malleable time and space. "The Beach" approaches a kind of absolute stillness with layers of continuous organlike sound from the guitar, a soundscape broken only by the birdlike cries of Andersen's high-pitched bowed bass. "In Line," a more animated piece, gradually displaces a repeating Oriental pattern with swirls of folklike chords. The loose unison theme of "Three," almost bop in a world of funhouse mirrors, triggers particularly good dialogue between Frisell and Andersen, who's an ideal accompanist in his appearances here, providing secure, empathic support. --Stuart Broomer
One of the few original jazz guitarists
Nobody important | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wes Montgomery gave the world a wonderful gift with his music, but that gift came with a price-- he made every other jazz guitarist obsolete. The world took some time to recover, and now there are a few around who can pick up a guitar and not cause us to think to ourselves, "pretty good, but he's no Wes Montgomery." Steve Tibbetts, for example, aside from having an amazing technique, composes some of the most complex and richly textured pieces ever recorded that are unlike anything I have ever heard, and seems to fall under jazz at record stores only by default. And then there's Bill Frisell. When I first heard this album, I thought it was just a very mild attempt at an early Steve Tibbetts sound (e.g., Northern Song). Upon closer inspection, I heard a subtle blend of jazz, folk, and even a bit of country/bluegrass that gives Frisell a distinctive sound that warants our attention. Frisell has gone in many different directions since then, but has maintained his artistic integrity, and has consistently displayed his technical skill without being flashy."
Bill's most intimate, original & best solo disc
Phasedin | New Jersey | 12/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the other reviewers of a different Frissel recording put it perfectly when he described Frisell's recent output as being "NPR friendly Americana, devoid of the sort of musical risk taking that characterized his earlier output".
I couldn't put it better.
In the years since Frisell left ECM, he has recorded many albums that fall into that category, far too many. Many could even make the mistake that he is essentially a modern country player if they hadn't experienced his earliest ECM output.
As time went on I became very cautious when buying the latest Frisell disc. I had to wonder where his original voice and creativity had gone.
I got to the point where I would only purchase his CD's where I knew the sidemen to be specifically within the "creative jazz" or "creative music" world, and avoid all those where the sidemen where unknown to me. So if Elvin Jones or Gary peacock were there, i'd buy it. If it was refugees from various "avant rock" bands or country musicians I would stay away. And still I was dissapointed with the results even being this cautious with my purchasing.
After all this time I have decided to simply stick with the recordings Frisell made for ECM-either as a leader or a sideman. It seems when Frisell left ECM he intentionally changed his style a great deal, and, i'm sure that few of his fans from his early era stayed on board long after his went down those Americana country roads.
If (like me) you discovered Frisell as the guitarist with Eberhard Weber (as I did), or with the Jan Garbarek Group, or Paul Motian's Band and liked it, then, boy, do I have a CD for you though!
This is Frisells masterpiece. Arild Anderson plays upright bass very well here on some tracks, but most of this CD is Frisell all by himself, dripping with mood and atmosphere. Easily his most personal and intimate recording.
I have purchased this recording twice for myself. First on vinyl, now on CD (which suits the quiet music all the better).
Sadly I have no hope Frisell will every return to these waters-too bad because these are the only recordings where you know it's Frisell and nobody else, from hearing the first phrase he plays.
But at least now I know which Frisell recordings to stay away from and which to buy. Sadly, he didn't record too many solo discs for the ECM label, but he does make substantial appearences on many ECM discs as a sideman. And I will continue to get those until I have them all. But that will probably be it for my Frisell collection. Unless someday he return to this kind of music-in that case, i'll be there. But i'm not holding my breath for that.
If you're a fan of Frisell's recordings after his ECM days, I don't really think this "weird" music will hold much interest for you (unless you are a Frisell completist). But if you're a fan of quiet, quirky, intimate, original, atmospheric music you can't pick this one up fast enough."