Bill Frisell is one of those guitarists who make you wish there were a hundred more like him. But, then again, that would make his uniqueness moot.
On his latest, he plays songs from movies and TV shows. That might seem ripe for a trip down memory lane, but the great arrangements and playing make sure things never gets sappy.
Frisell handles all guitars. His band features Eyvind Kang on an ever-present viola that greatly enhances all the music here. Rounding things out are bassist Thomas Morgan, percussionist Rudy Royston, and vocalist Petra Haden on six tunes. The vocals are splendid, especially on a beautiful “Shadow Of Your Smile” that highlights one of the all-time great melodies.
Not surprisingly Frisell is everywhere, playing beautiful melodies, supplying supple harmonic fills and the occasional solo, although solos don’t dominate the record. That said, check out his break on “Moon River,” where he mixes chords, single-note work and more into sheer beauty.
As a guitar player, Frisell should be celebrated as one of the truly unique greats. And he proves he deserves that with every record he puts out.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.