Half Notes: Bill Frisell – East/West (2005)

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by Tom Johnson

My favorite guitarist released, at long last, his second live album in 2005. How a guitarist this amazing and talented had gone so long between live releases is beyond me. Whereas his first live album, the intriguingly titled Live, captured Frisell at the peak of his noisy period, East/West found Frisell at the far end of the spectrum with his now default “Americana” mode in full swing. As much as I love hearing Frisell skronk-out on the guitar, it’s his more gentle, simple playing that tugs at me emotionally — and it’s his jazzy take on country/bluegrass that really shines brightly for me. The two discs in this set document two of his recent trios, both of which feature the amazing Kenny Wolleson on drums, with Tony Scherr on bass on the “East” (New York) disc and Viktor Krauss on the “West” (Los Angeles) disc.

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

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