In guitarist Bill Frisell’s liner notes to his most recent LP, he writes about being contacted to perform a special concert of John Lennon compositions. He and the band enjoyed it so much that they continued to tour, playing mostly of the music heard here to an excellent response, and then entered to studio to record. The music really suits the guitarist well, he came up during the heyday of the Beatles popularity, and the melodies are all well embedded in his (and every other music fan’s) head. Joined by usual co-conspirators, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Tony Scherr on bass, Greg Leisz on guitars and Kenny Wollesen on drums, the music has an interesting feel - a combination of British Invastion pop and American roots music. The music evolves in layers, developing the melody and taking it places that are unexpected. Where “Please Please Me” and “Come Together” retain the crunchy pop/rock feel of the original recordings, the availability of violin and steel guitar allow the ballads like “Julia” and “Mother” to develop slowly into deep-seated lyrical statements. Overall this album works pretty well and could serve as an excellent gateway or conduit to fans of pop music that are interested in exploring jazz. Frisell’s arrangements are light and lyrical and the lithe accompaniment of Jenny Scheinman and the rest of the band lead the familiar music in a unique and understated direction. The band understands that Lennon’s music speaks for itself, and with a few modifications they allow it to do so quite beautifully. All We Are Saying... - amazon.com
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Neal Morse – Songs from November (2014)
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