Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

85

Floratone (Frisell / Chamberlain / Townsend / Martine): Floratone II

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Plenty of artists treat their music as egalitarian, but some projects are more collaborative than others. Guitarist Bill Frisell has long considered his work to be about the greater whole, going so far as to credit the arrangements on Sign of Life (Savoy, 2011), as "(on the spot and subject to change) by Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Hank Roberts and Jenny Scheinman." But Floratone (Blue Note, 2007) was more collaborative still, beginning life as a series of jams with drummer Matt Chamberlain which were turned over to producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine to shape into discrete "songs," only to go back to Frisell and Chamberlain, who completed the semi-finished music with additional overdubs from some invited musical friends, including trumpeter Ron Miles, violist/violinists Eyvind Kang and bassist Viktor Krauss. As artificial as this all sounds, the "futuristic roots music" of Floratone felt remarkably natural and organic.

Everyone except Krauss is back for Floratone II, but this time, with no names on the front cover, Floratone is even more clearly a group, its unique approach sculpting music distinctly cinematic in nature. Despite its modernistic edge, the main changes of "Move," which release from the tension built by Chamberlain's processed percussion, echo the theme to the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

Elsewhere, without any overt references, the music sounds like the soundtrack to an imaginary film. Two versions of "The Time, The Place" bookend the fiery, up-tempo "No Turn Back," sharing little in common beyond a simple four-note theme: the first version layered by Miles and Kang over a gentle groove bolstered by guest bassist Mike Elizondo; the second, more ethereal, with trumpet and viola floating atop a rubato foundation where Frisell plays a more dominant role, his delicate, chiming chords hovering above some Hugh Hopper-like fuzz bass.

Chamberlain's snare and bass drum provide a marching pulse for the aptly titled "Parade," but Frisell's skewed dissonance render it something closer to a Tim Burton soundtrack, its overall harmonic approach feeling like a groove-happy outtake from Frisell's landmark This Land (Nonesuch, 1994). Chamberlain's dense funk and Frisell's choppy, Jimmy Nolan-inspired chicken-scratching on "Do You Have It" contrast the layered acoustic guitars that turn James Brown on his side and move him west, from South Carolina to the foothills of Alabama.

Two brief miniatures act as transitions, Kang channelling a Far East sensibility on the hovering "Not Over Ever," between "Parade" and "Move." Chamberlain's processed percussion, Frisell's overdriven harmonics and Elizondo's repetitive three-note pattern on the more grounded "Grin and Bite" support Miles' simple, overdubbed part, coming between the quirky "Gimme Some," and folksier album closer, "Stand By This," where layered acoustic and electric guitars contribute to making it Floratone II's lushest, most eminently attractive track.

As artificially constructed as this music is, it's a sure bet Floratone will never perform live. But as Floratone continues to drive Teo Macero's innovative collage work with trumpeter Miles Davis' late 1960s/early 1970s electric music into the 21st century and beyond, the expansive, cinematic Floratone II gives hope that Frisell, Chamberlain, Townsend and Martine will continue to collaborate well into the future.

Track Listing: The Bloom is On; More Pluck; Snake, Rattle; Parade; Not Over Ever; Move; Do You Have It?; The Time, The Place; No Turn Back; The Time, The Place (Part 2); Gimme Some; Grin and Bite; Stand By This.

Personnel: Bill Frisell: guitars; Matt Chamberlain: drums, percussion; Lee Townsend: production; Tucker Martine: production; Mike Elizondo: bass; Jon Brion: keyboards; Ron Miles: trumpet; Eyvind Kang: viola.

Title: Floratone II | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Floratone II

Floratone II

Savoy Jazz
2012

buy
Floratone

Floratone

Blue Note Records
2008

buy
 

Floratone

Blue Note
2007

buy
Floratone

Floratone

Blue Note Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen CD/LP/Track Review
It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Volume One CD/LP/Track Review
Volume One
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Songs in the Key of Wonder CD/LP/Track Review
Songs in the Key of Wonder
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2018
Read SHIFTED CD/LP/Track Review
SHIFTED
by James Fleming
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read "Blue Fantasia" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Fantasia
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "The Toronto Sound" CD/LP/Track Review The Toronto Sound
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983" CD/LP/Track Review In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Accelerated Projection" CD/LP/Track Review Accelerated Projection
by Don Phipps
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Nightports" CD/LP/Track Review Nightports
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 8, 2018
Read "Nightconcert" CD/LP/Track Review Nightconcert
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: October 27, 2018