Bill Frisell has long been one of the most unique guitarists around. Able to switch on a moment's notice from sounding like a Nashville studio player to heavy metal, several styles of jazz, and just pure noise, Frisell can get a remarkable variety of sounds and tones out of his instrument. This set features Frisell in a quintet with Don Byron (on clarinet and bass clarinet), Guy Klucevsek on accordion, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Joey Baron.
Writer Mitch Alboms reluctantly agrees to pen the eulogy of his childhood rabbi.
Lagrimas Mexicana is a completely unique collection of songs that draws heavily from traditional Latin and Brazilian rhythms, and weds them to 21st century jazz improvisation and sonic effects in a luxuriant braid of colors, textures, styles, and languages. Having known one another for 25 years, Brazilian guitarist, songwriter, and percussionist Vinicius Cantuaria and American guitarist Bill Frisell have occasionally played on one another's albums. Lagrimas Mexicana is an ambitious yet utterly accessible album that would have been just as at home on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. It is at once warm, sexy, and visionary. It presents two different yet very complementary artists in a collaboration that borders on brilliant.
Forty-five years after her death, Mahalia Jackson remains the world's most famous gospel singer. "Moving On Up A Little Higher" explores Mahalia's roots, as she performs hymns of her childhood and reunites with her mentor, Thomas A. Dorsey. These performances date from 1946 to 1957, when Mahalia's voice was at it's golden best. Highlights include the only known recording of Mahalia, accompanied by Thomas A. Dorsey, two live versions of her first and greatest hit, "Move On Up A Little Higher" and two of her most important concerts: a 1951 symposium that introduced her to a larger, interracial public and the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival concert.
This relatively early set from Bill Frisell is a fine showcase for the utterly unique guitarist. Frisell has the ability to play nearly any extroverted style of music and his humor (check out the date's "Music I Heard") is rarely far below the surface. This particular quintet (with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, tuba player Bob Stewart, electric bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Paul Motian) is not exactly short of original personalities and their outing (featuring seven Frisell compositions) is one of the most lively of all the ones in the ECM catalog.
The defining characteristic of any given jazz musician is frequently his sound. The more control a player has over the nature of that sound, the more likely he is to project a distinctive musical personality.
The magic that occurs when student meets teacher on equal footing years down the road is rare enough. With Jim Hall—one of the most influential guitarists of the past half century—his spare approach, a reference point for younger guitar icons including John Abercrombie, John Scofield and Pat Metheny, has resulted in more magic than most. Hall and Metheny met successfully on Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (Telarc, 1999) and, while the elder guitarist also met briefly with Bill Frisell on a handful of tracks on Dialogues (Telarc, 1995), it was clear that the simpatico between them was profound and warranted further investigation. 13 years later—Frisell's star rising considerably during that time—the two reconvene for Hemispheres, a double-disc set with one disc of duo material and the other in quartet with bassist Scott Colley and Joey Baron, where their empathic relationship is finally and fully realized…