JJ 04/89: Bill Frisell – Works

First published Jazz Journal, April 1989


I remember listening to The Beach from In Line, Frisell’s solo 1982 recording, a few years ago in Mole Jazz. Less than enthused by the chilled approximations to the sound of a bee swarm, an assistant remarked acidly “He’ll get there sometime – won’t he?”

This selection is unlikely to change the minds of those who find Frisell too preoccupied with texture and mood at the expense of more traditional ideas of thematic development.

Circumspection and a determined pursuit of the indeterminate mark much of the guitarist’s work here, as a pedal steel-type sound (Monica Jane) or Rypdal-like yearning (Hair) float off into space.

When We Go offers hints of a more anarchic world underneath fairly straight dance figures, but it’s hardly enough to counter the soporific impression given overall by a selection which strangely doesn’t even hint at the raunchy power which Frisell has revealed on a track like Jan Garbarek’s Pendulum.
Michael Tucker

Monica Jane (a); The Beach (b); When We Go (c); Throughout (25.10) — Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair (d); Wizard Of Odds (c); Conception Vessel (e); Etude (22.11)
Bill Frisell (ac & el g/g syn) solo on Throughout & Etude & with (a) Paul Bley (p); John Surman (ss); Paul Motian (d); (b) Arild Andersen (b); (c) Kenny Wheeler (t); Bob Stewart (tuba); Jerome Harris (b); Paul Motian (d); (d) Marc Johnson (b); Peter Erskine (d); (e) Paul Motian (d); Joe Lovano (ts). Various dates New York, Oslo & Ludwigsburg 1981-1986.
ECM 837 2731