Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bill Frisell - Big Sur (Okeh, 2013)

Guitarist Bill Frisell has had an interesting 2013, and it is barely half over. Whether collaborating with Marianne Faithfull at a recent concert to releasing one of his most bracing and exciting albums of his recent output, Silent Comedy on the Tzadik label. Big Sur was a commissioned work where he combined musicians from two of his working ensembles including Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola, Hank Roberts on cello and Rudy Royston on drums. The music returns to the pastoral Americana that Friell has been mining over the course of the past several years. The music is immaculately played as you would suspect, given musicians of this calibre, but the only problem is that the music never really seems to take flight. “Hawks” is the highlight of the album, where the band wakes up from it’s lazy slumber to add a jolt of well needed power to the proceedings. The rest of the album is quiet and polite, well played but ultimately unmemorable, like a dream that drifts by on a quiet summer day. Big Sur -

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