Release Date: Aug 31, 2010
Genre(s): Classical, Jazz, Folk, Neo-Traditional Folk, Jazz Instrument, Modern Creative, Post-Bop, Chamber Music, Fusion, Guitar Jazz, New Acoustic, Progressive Folk, Progressive Jazz, World Fusion
Record label: Savoy
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Bill Frisell might have moved from a genre-bending label (Nonesuch) to a famously jazzy one, but Beautiful Dreamers is no nostalgic midlife return to the four-four beat. Frisell formed this unusual trio (with viola player Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston) two years ago, to explore country-steeped impressionism, chugging barndance music, brooding folk-blues and whimsical covers of pop tunes – though a Benny Goodman/Charlie Christian tribute on Benny's Bugle is pretty firmly jazz-rooted, and a playful Tea for Two catches a hint of Reinhardt/Grappelli swing. Frisell disguises the title track until halfway into it, and its airily abstract brush-patterns and meandering buildup give it a sombrely mysterious air that characterises much of the set – most absorbingly in the wounded viola cries and tango-like touches of All We Can Do, and the minimal melody and poignantly tingling textures of viola and guitar on Who Was That Girl? The least idiom-specific tracks like those, diverted from familiar song-shapes, are the most eloquent – but Frisell would find it hard to do anything unmusical if he tried.
Mostly beautiful Over the last three decades, Bill Frisell’s instrumental compositions have blended smooth jazz with twangy country, occasionally getting downright bluesy. His latest effort—which enlists the artistry of composer/multi-instrumentalist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston—maintains his signature genre-meshing qualities in its reimagining of six classic ballads dating as far back as the Civil War (which sit nicely among Frisell’s 10 original compositions). Title track “Beautiful Dreamer,” an instrumental adaptation of Stephen Foster’s folk song, is a jazz-injected lullaby carried by Frisell’s careful electric guitar plucking.
Beautiful Dreamers is Bill Frisell's debut for Savoy Jazz. He left longstanding label Nonesuch in 2009, claiming he needed to release more than one record per year in order to to document his various bands, film score commitments, and commissions. This set features the guitarist in the company of violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston on a program of ten originals and six covers.
A fine album to mark Frisell’s debut on the renowned Savoy Jazz label. John Eyles 2010 As Bill Frisell approaches 60, it is reassuring that he retains the same exploratory, genre-hopping approach he has adopted throughout his career. Frisell has never been a straightforward jazz guitarist but, after releasing 21 eclectic albums in as many years on Nonesuch, Beautiful Dreamers marks his debut on the renowned Savoy Jazz label.
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