What more can master guitarist Bill Frisell do? Over the last 42 years, he’s finessed his way through many permutations of jazz, rock (including an album of John Lennon songs), Americana, folk, and even noise. For his new album, HARMONY
(Frisell’s first for Blue Note), the revered Bainbridge Island musician explores vocal-based songwriting, with the gorgeous voice of Petra Haden (that dog., the Decemberists, etc.) augmenting his spectral ballads. Featuring several covers of chestnuts by Pete Seeger, Billy Strayhorn, Stephen Foster, and others, HARMONY
may be a conservative move, but you can’t accuse Frisell of stagnating. And within the record’s parameters, he and his band (including guitarist/bassist Luke Bergman and cellist Hank Roberts) evoke an almost Twin Peaks
–like vibe, a sheer reveling in hushed melodic beauty for its own sake.
by Stranger Writer Dave Segal