Bill Frisell At The Stone
Wall of Artist Photos at The Stone
From avant-garde sky painting to grinding blues. Frisell then changed to a classic swing-to-bop style tune, Sonny Rollins' early "No Moe," felt by some to be a precursor of the more well-known "Oleo." This was a long piece, and very attractively played. A beautiful two octave-wide descending flow of notes ended on a neat four-note repetition of the tonic note. Montgomery-like chromatically placed chords arose here and there, and there was a Charles Ives signaturedescending whole tonesheard twice: an effect similar to "The Wizard" from Frisell's Disfarmer (Nonesuch, 2009). There was also a brief seven-note Charlie Christian figure, touching bass with the harmony, which led instantly to a growling John McLaughlin-like effect in three slow, chromatically falling notes.
The familiar bebop channel, in the tune's middle section, provided a sense of the familiar which, in contrast to the first two pieces, welcomed the audience to a more "homey," if not homely, territory.
"Wave" followed. Jobim's peerless, diminished scale-sparked melody allowed Frisell to show the close connection he has with melody. Far from being an artist who just produces atonal jarrings, he states that melody is really the main thing in his music. This was a fairly straight version of the tune.
At the end of "Wave," the audience might have been thinking about no moe' stuffy air. Several voiced the issue, and Frisell suggested that the title he had just played might have helped.
The closer was slow and spacious, a Pete Townshend "See Me Feel Me" sound recreated during one bar.
Bill Frisell, musical architect. His services were well provided at The Stone. Joey Baron was the perfect foil, a handy percussive draft board for Frisell's free-hand sketchings and etchings.
Simon Jay Harper