Half Notes: Bill Frisell – Live (1995)

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by Tom Johnson

My first real exposure to jazz was either John Coltrane’s Sun Ship or this. Time has erased the gap between the two, but it matters little. Either way, I was in way over my head. I bought both in quick succession, but found Sun Ship simply way too much and traded it in shortly. Somehow, I held on to Live — something about it spoke to me. Frisell’s twisting, turning, yearning guitar kept me baffled for years about what was really going on. It didn’t help that bassist Kermit Driscoll worked similarly odd lines on his instrument, and that drummer Joey Baron refused to play a straight beat, or even play normally, clacking and clanging about his kit instead of just hitting the cymbals and drumheads. Perhaps it was the billing on the wrapper of Frisell being “jazz guitar’s Hendrix” that kept me coming back, but I just knew there had to be something serious going on with this guy. I was right.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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