477

Petra Haden/Bill Frisell: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Petra Haden/Bill Frisell: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell Working with singers is nothing new to the ubiquitous and stylistically impossible-to-pigeonhole guitarist Bill Frisell. But whereas his '95 collaboration with Elvis Costello, Deep Dead Blue , was a live recording, stark in its simple meeting of one voice and one guitar, Frisell's latest teaming with Petra Haden, daughter of legendary bassist Charlie, and singer/violinist for that dog, is an altogether more produced affair. Petra Haden and Bill Frisell finds both Frisell and Haden building layer upon layer of sound, creating a lush and appealing ambience that brings new meaning to a varied programme of originals, standards, traditional pieces and some surprising covers.

With a soft approach highlighting Haden's often whisper-like vocals, the duo takes on Coldplay's "Yellow" and Foo Fighters' "Floaty," tackling them more like folk songs, although Frisell's overdriven guitar on both provides the link to the originals' more assertive stance. Still, the use of acoustic guitar, loops, layered violin tracks, and Haden's veritable chorus of vocals brings an unexpected richness and poignancy to these essentially simple songs.

Elsewhere Tom Waits' "I Don't Want to Grow Up" displays more naiveté than Waits' version on Bone Machine , while their reading of "I Believe" has a certain Beatles-esque quality that belies its composer, Stevie Wonder. The Mancini standard "Moon River" has been covered by Frisell both live and on record with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Elvin Jones, but never with the kind of rubato elegance found here. "When You Wish Upon a Star" receives a similarly delicate treatment, with Frisell's solo, deliciously rich, guitar proving all the accompaniment Haden needs to evoke the childlike innocence of the tune.

It is, in fact, the lyrical simplicity and lack of self-indulgence—even in light of their extensive use of overdubbing to build a broad tapestry—that makes the album such a pure and unaffected pleasure. Whether interpreting a modest traditional folk tune like "John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man" or the Tuvan traditional piece "Baï-laa Taïgam," where Frisell and Haden use everything at their disposal to create an hypnotic and almost statically-ambient sensibility, nothing feels unnatural or overly-considered.

It is Frisell's uncanny and unselfish ability to blend into virtually any context while retaining his distinctive personality that makes any project he is involved in worth investigating. And Haden's similar lack of ego, avoiding any superfluous displays and instead searching for the essence of the tune, meshes perfectly with Frisell's sensibility. Petra Haden and Bill Frisell may not be as utterly exposed as Deep Dead Blue , but it shares a similar penchant for personal interpretation that is clear and economical, even as Haden and Frisell utilize the full potential of the studio environment to create a sound that is every bit as compelling.

Visit Petra Haden and Bill Frisell on the web.

Note: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell has been released by True North Records in Canada and Sovereign Artists in the US.


Track Listing: Satellite; Floaty; Ba

Personnel: Petra Haden (vocals, violin), Bill Frisell (electric and acoustic guitars, loops)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: True North Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Blues and Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Ballads
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Fellow Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Fellow Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!