Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
330

Bill Frisell: Beautiful Dreamers

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Frisell: Beautiful Dreamers Most people slow down as they get older but, in the case of musicians, there are those who seem to actually step up the pace. Bill Frisell may be approaching 60, but he's busier than ever—so much so, in fact, that the intrepid guitarist has left his record label of over twenty years (Nonesuch), because it was unprepared to keep up with his need to release more than one album per year. Beautiful Dreamers is Frisell's first Savoy Jazz release but it won't be the last, as the intrepid guitarist heads into the studio in October with his string-driven 858 Quartet, to record a follow-up to Richter 858 (Songlines, 2005), for release early in 2011.

Those who caught Frisell during the 2010 summer festival season—including TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival and Norway's Kongsberg Jazz Festival)—will be familiar with the joyful interaction of his Beautiful Dreamers trio, but there's at least one significant difference between its live shows and self-titled debut. In performance, both Frisell and longtime musical cohort/violist Eyvind Kang use a bevy of effects—distortion, pitch shifting, looping and more—to expand the range of an unorthodox trio that also includes drummer Rudy Royston. The disc, on the other hand, is a largely unprocessed affair, though Frisell does use an octave divider on the quirky "Homer Blues," and some dense overdrive on the near-rocking "Dec. 25th," where Royston's go-go beat propels what was, in concert, a lengthy highlight, but is, here, an almost too-short miniature.

Almost, that is. Like other recent discs including Disfarmer (Nonesuch, 2009) and History, Mystery (Nonesuch, 2008), few of Beautiful Dreamers' racks crack the six-minute mark. But Beautiful Dreamers clearly understands the difference between live performance and permanent documentation; none of the material overstays its welcome, but neither does it appear hurried, as Frisell and Kang orbit around each other with brooding introspection on "T5 Pt. 1," a spare extension of Where in the World? (Nonesuch, 1991)—or, even better, one of Frisell's early high watermarks, This Land (Nonesuch, 1994).

Beautiful Dreamers deserts the overt Americana of Good Dog, Happy Man (Nonesuch, 1999), yet there's still something indefinably American about the guitarist's writing, which accounts for ten of the disc's sixteen tracks. His covers traverse a broad terrain of distinctly American music, ranging from the visceral blues of Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault" and Benny Goodman's swinging "Benny's Bugle" (where Royston channels Gene Krupa, but without the bluster and bombast), to a wry take on the Little Anthony and the Imperials hit, "Goin' Out of My Head" (Kang's pizzicato the melodic front line), and the iconic title track, which coalesces from the ether, its familiar theme only emerging at the song's end.

In the most understated way possible, Beautiful Dreamers' special intimacy, quiet joy and constant sound of surprise represent a shift in Frisell's music. Moving away from project specificity and, instead, towards a consolidation of the guitarist's multifaceted interests, it's a beautiful way, indeed, to kick-start this relationship with a new label.


Track Listing: Love Sick; Winslow Homer; Beautiful Dreamer (for Karle Seydel); A Worthy Endeavor (for Cajori); It's Nobody's Fault But My Own; Baby Cry; Benny's Bugle; Tea For Two; No Time To Cry; Better Than A Machine (for Vic Chestnut); Goin' Out Of My Head; Worried Woman; Keep On The Sunny Side; Sweetie; All We Can Do; Who Was That Girl?

Personnel: Bill Frisell: guitar; Eyvind Kang: viola; Rudy Royston: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

  • 1968
    1968
    Bill Frisell
    Previously Unreleased AAJ...
  • Strange Meeting
    Strange Meeting
    Bill Frisell
    Previously Unreleased AAJ...
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Rediscovery
Read more articles
When You Wish Upon a Star
When You Wish Upon a...
Okeh
2016
buy
Guitar in the Space Age!
Guitar in the Space...
Okeh
2014
buy
Silent Comedy
Silent Comedy
Tzadik
2013
buy
Big Sur
Big Sur
Okeh
2013
buy
The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved
The Kentucky Derby Is...
Savoy Jazz
2012
buy
Floratone II
Floratone II
Savoy Jazz
2012
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Charlie Hunter Charlie Hunter
guitar, 8-string
Derek Bailey Derek Bailey
guitar

Bill Frisell Events

Date Event Time Tickets
Oct4Tue Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct5Wed Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct6Thu Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct7Fri Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct8Sat Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct9Sun Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct11Tue Bill Frisell
Blue Note Jazz Club
New York, NY
8:00 pm

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.