Bill Frisell: Lonesome




The Bill Frisell Band


Lookout For Hope (ECM 833495)

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Bill Frisell (guitar), Hank Roberts (cello), Kermit Driscoll (bass), Joey Baron (drums).

Composed by Bill Frisell


Recorded: Power Station, NYC, March 1987


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Between the release of his debut recording, In Line, and the date of this session (early ’87), Bill Frisell busily recorded with Chet Baker, Bob Moses, Tim Berne, Paul Motian, Marc Johnson, John Zorn, Paul Bley, and released his first full-band record, an ECM outing entitled Rambler that features Kenny Wheeler and Paul Motian. However, Frisell truly embarked on establishing a career as a leader with this first steady group, comprising the diversely creative lineup of cellist Hank Roberts, electric bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Joey Baron. Upon first listen, one can immediately tell that Frisell had found his early musical foils here. Both the serious technical talents and collective senses of humor of his “Band” mates enhance his compositional and improvisational nuances.

“Lonesome” is an enduring Frisell composition consisting of two six-bar “A” sections, an eight-bar “B” section, and a concluding, slightly-expanded eight-bar “A” section. Frisell’s sweet folk melody, played on acoustic guitar, is peppered with metallic percussion (amidst a country-rock brushes groove) from Baron, modestly vital support from Driscoll, and some attractively discordant trills from Roberts. Frisell’s brief improvisation features some time spent exploring mood and texture, as well as a few stand-alone bop lines that remind us, amidst the multitude of sonic goings-on, that the man can play. This tune has been performed by many of Frisell’s various group throughout the years, yet few retain the charm of this original version.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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