Half Notes: Bill Frisell – Beautiful Dreamers (2010)

Share this:

Back in the late 80s-early 90s, Frisell had a cellist by the name of Hank Roberts in his band. The combination and contrapuntal flow between the two helped define Frisell’s sound at the time, and he’s periodically returned to a light helping of strings throughout his career after that era. One of the string specialists he first turned to for 1996’s Quartet and increasingly since 2004’s Unspeakable is tuba, violin and viola player Eyvind Kang. For Beautiful Dreamers, Fris put Kang in a starring role on a record that has just those two, plus Rudy Royston on drums. Though Bill is the nominal leader, it’s more about him and Kang sharing the melodic load and the rapport between them is terrific. Of the half dozen covers, the best is a tasteful rendition of the Little Anthony and The Imperials hit “Goin’ Out Of My Head,” highlighted by Kang’s flawless pizzicato. True to form, Bill’s curiosity about lyrical melodies no matter the idiom becomes evident as he also selects covers from Benny Goodman, Stephen Foster, Blind Willie Johnson, and the Carter Family. The rest of the program shifts emphasis between the airy (“Love Sick”) and groove oriented (“Winslow Homer”) with some of the Nashville flair appearing here and there, as on “Worried Woman” and “Keep On The Sunny Side.” Beautiful Dreamers is one of Frisell’s lower key affairs, but it’s done with a lot of cultivation and quiet artistry.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron

Latest posts by S. Victor Aaron (see all)

Share this:
Close