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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




ECM :rarum V 0141982


Bill Frisell - guitars, banjo, guitar synthesizer, with various musicians including :

Joe Lovano - tenor saxophone, Billy Drewes - alto saxophone, Ed Schuller - double bass, Paul Motian - drums, Jan Garbarek - soprano saxophone, Eberhard Weber - bass, Michael Di Pasqua - drums, Kenny Wheeler - trumpet, cornet, Bob Stewart - tuba, Jerome Harris - bass guitar, Hank Roberts - cello, Kermit Driscoll - bass guitar, Joey Baron - drums, Lee Konitz - alto saxophone, Dave Holland - double bass, Paul Bley - piano, John Surman - soprano saxophone, Jamie McCarthy - recorder, Roger Heaton - clarinet, Alexander Balanescu - violin, Martin Allen, vibraphone, John White - piano, Gavin Bryars - double bass.

The above are listed in order of appearance.

1. Mandeville
2. Introduction
3. India
4. Singsong
5. In Line
6. Resistor
7. Music I Heard
8. Tone
9. Lonesome
10. Alien Prints
11. Hangdog
12. Kind Of Gentle
13. Closer
14. Sub Rosa

Bill Frisell regularly appears in polls amongst the top ten Jazz guitarists in the world. However, this is only a part of the complete picture of this fascinating musician who is one of the most versatile and committed performers on the current scene. Whilst having reservations about the present fashion for an endless stream of compilations I can only applaud ECM in their attempt to introduce this musician to a broader listening public.

As can be seen by the varied personnel listed here, Frisell operates on a very broad spectrum, and this only illustrates his output on one record label. There are many other fine recordings and projects by him or featuring him to be found elsewhere. I saw the guitarist in performance with the Paul Motian Trio ( heard here on " Introduction" and "India" ) and was amazed at the constant searching for different colours which was such a vital element during his playing. He was not content to use one guitar sound but had mastered a whole bank of complex variations of tone and texture which he used to great effect. This aspect of his style is obvious throughout these recordings.

The eclectic mixture of musicians here makes for some highly individual renditions and the most common adjective to describe the music herein would be tasteful. Whilst much of the material is quite experimental it is never hard on the ear. Frisell himself seems comfortable in a whole gamut of genre ranging from Folk and Country through Rock to Contemporary Jazz. He truly represents what is best in current trends in that he is not afraid to perform in these varied categories.

The musicians to be found here are amongst the best around and I greatly enjoyed the whole of this offering.

Dick Stafford



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