Monday, June 07, 2010

Bill Frisell - Live Download Series; Oakland, CA 7/15/89 (Songline/Tonefield, 2010)

The tenth installment in guitarist Bill Frisell's Live Download Series is from Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, recorded on July 15, 1989 with Frisell supported by Hank Roberts on cello, Kermit Driscoll on bass and Joey Baron on drums. The music is an interesting mix of Frisell's nascent Americana leanings along with some rocking, high intensity improvisation tied together with a sense of impish fun. Highlights include the lengthy John Zorn inspired "Hard Plains Drifter" which shifts dynamically from loud crunchy guitars and pile-driving drums to spacey and mellow cinematic interludes. Frisell was a member of Zorn's genre shifting Naked City ensemble at this stage, and this track brings together influences of both men including movie music, country and free jazz in a very impressive performance. Baron is at the heart of "Unscientific Americans" with very strong drumming egged on by Frisell firing sparks or guitar in an excellent dialogue. The music shifts into a lighter free section of cello and nimble percussion. Yearning and emotional music is at the core of "Devil Suit" and "Amarillo Barbados" with Roberts swirling and riffing cello providing ample support for Frisell's guitar acrobatics. This was a well played set of live music, and the sound quality of the recording was very good. Definitely a must for fans of the guitarist. Live Download -

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