Bill Frisell – Valentine (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:05:27 minutes | 1,18 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Blue Note Records
Guitarist Bill Frisell has announced that Valentine, the album that marks the recording debut of his trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston, will be released on 14 August on Blue Note.
The closing track from the set, a new reading of the Civil Rights anthem ‘We Shall Overcome.’ is now available. “I’ve been playing the song for years,” explains Frisell, “and I’m going to keep playing it till there is no need anymore. I can’t help but hope that day will come.”
Before we marvel at the high-altitude interplay of the Bill Frisell Trio or the sometimes extreme sonic gyrations of its leader, let’s begin at the most basic level—with stark, simple, standalone guitar declarations. Frisell opens several pieces on Valentine this way, in the clear. He’ll send a carefully plucked single note out into the air, and then, after it subsides, he’ll drop another. Tone is his only lure, and it’s all he needs to suggest the framework of a tune like “Levees:” The initial phrase operates like an opening scene in a film, establishing a thick and specific atmosphere. Out of that blossoms a six-minute exploration in which Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston travel between strict tempo and drifty listlessness, blues repetition and free-jazz high dives, jittery conversation and disquieting silences.
From a single note, there are many resonances; Frisell has been doing this kind of quiet alchemy for years, of course. Valentine is among the most rousing works in his extensive discography in part because it’s so relentlessly visual. On just about every piece, Frisell and his trio work transfixingly together to conjure dirt-road sojurns and nature vistas out of thin air. They create contemplative spaces the jazz academy never visits. They dance through a blithe, lighthearted reading of Burt Bacharach’s “What The World Needs Now” and a disquieting sorrow-filled version of “We Shall Overcome.” And on many of Frisell’s skeletal originals (the stunning “Keep Your Eyes Open,” for example), they transform their three-way improvised abstractions into clear, singable music that has the sturdy narrative arc of classic country music.
As these journeys unfold, it becomes clear that right along with the spontaneity there’s some deep intention at work. The stylistic juxtapositions and sudden changes in density are hardly random. Neither are the fragile little introductions—somehow they’re all Frisell needs to telegraph where he’s going. As in so many aspects of life, the tone is set from the top. – Tom Moon
1. Bill Frisell – Baba Drame
2. Bill Frisell – Hour Glass
3. Bill Frisell – Valentine
4. Bill Frisell – Levees
5. Bill Frisell – Winter Always Turns To Spring
6. Bill Frisell – Keep Your Eyes Open
7. Bill Frisell – A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing
8. Bill Frisell – Electricity
9. Bill Frisell – Wagon Wheels
10. Bill Frisell – Aunt Mary
11. Bill Frisell – What The World Needs Now Is Love
12. Bill Frisell – Where Do We Go?
13. Bill Frisell – We Shall Overcome