Half Notes: Floratone – Floratone (2007)

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A collaboration between jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Matt Chamberlain, it must have seemed pretty straight-forward upon first inspection: Frisell doing his Americana-tinged jazz guitar thing and Chamberlain laying down grooves behind him. But look at the names listed with them on the cover and you quickly began to realize there was a lot more going on here: Both producers Lee Townsend (a Frisell regular) and Tucker Martine are listed up there as members of the group.

Here’s where it got interesting: Frisell and Chamberlain joined together to record some material a few years before Floratone arrived. The two producers then took their material and worked their magic on the recordings, then handed the material back to Frisell and Chamberlain — who then added some more layers. In the end, frequent Frisell-band member, bassist Viktor Krauss dropped in bass on all the tracks while Eyvind Kang added some of his color to the mix on some songs. What we got is another one of those genre-defying works that Frisell seems to be so closely associated with. It’s not jazz, it’s not Americana, but — even now — it has a strange forward-looking feel about it.

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

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