Jim Hall & Bill Frisell: Masters of War

Over the past two decades, eclectic guitarist Bill Frisell ("eclectric" maybe) has become renowned for maverick tune selection, inventive picking, and an apparent willingness to play/jam with anyone; in the process he has defined an intriguing new jazz form: Americana meets roots meets improvisation. In the mid-'90s he was sideman on an album for grandmaster Jim Hall; now, over 10 years later, comes the brilliant sequel, their 2008 2-CD set for ArtistShare titled Hemispheres, chock-full of dueling duets and quartet quadrilles, sudden originals, moody ballads, standards turned sideways ... and a certain "Masters of War," which can safely be ascribed to Bill's big ears. Hear the duo dig in on Dylan's folk fretting, Bill's Telecaster effects laying a bed for Jim's solo stringing, the pair turning anger into beauty and revealing an unexpected kinship between Dylan's tune and "My Favorite Things"! The liner notes opine that Jim liked the lyrics. Well, we listeners like the picking and chiming of these Masters of Peace, the one forever young and the other bold beyond his ears.

December 07, 2008 · 1 comment


Joshua Redman: The Times They Are A-Changin'

On his remake of Bob Dylan's anthem "The Times They Are A-Changin,'" Joshua Redman's warm and soulful sound translates easily on the alto, especially in his characteristic wailing improvisation in the coda. The saxophonist couldn't have picked a finer pop-conscious rhythm section to support him on this diverse set of covers. Mehldau and Grenadier have gone on to explore the intersection of pop and jazz quite thoroughly in the last decade, and Blade has recorded with a wide array of artists including crossover star Norah Jones, the iconoclastic Joni Mitchell, and Dylan himself. Arguably the best drummer of his generation, Blade brings an unmatched energy and enthusiasm to the table with his buoyant grooves, supple support, and conversational style. Listen for the quiet subtleties in his drumming—hi-hat splashes, polyrhythmic cymbal action, phrase-completing fills, and consistently shifting textures.

August 06, 2008 · 0 comments


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