Half Notes: Bill Frisell – History, Mystery (2008)

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by Tom Johnson

I have to be forgiven if I refer to this album as sounding like Frisell “getting back to his roots.” His roots, to me, are not necessarily his original sound but where I picked up with this great guitarist — the era in the early to mid-1990s where he bridged a strange gap between angular jazz and countrified twang. That twang has always been there, but over the years, it had become the focus of his sound, and some fans longed for him to bring back some of the angular elements. The two-disc, 30-song History, Mystery provided that, sounding like a sophisticated big cousin to 2001’s Blues Dream — which is a very good thing in my book.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Bill Frisell discusses his John Lennon tribute album, signature career moments and how what he can’t play helped shape his sound.]

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