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Bill Frisell: Big Sur. Review: theguardian

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In 2012, the Monterey Jazz festival put composer/guitarist Bill Frisell in a cabin at a remote ranch on the Big Sur coastline, and left him there to come up with his reactions to the landscape. The project – combining the guitarist's chamber-musical 858 Quartet and more country-tinged Beautiful Dreamers trio – produced a festival performance and this abundantly varied 18-track studio album. Like all Frisell's inimitable impressions of America, it's joyous, mournful, bluesy, minimal, intricate, direct as a pop song and impressionistically mysterious by turns. In a highly diverse tracklist, the almost Sgt. Pepper-like Going to California rubs shoulders with The Big One's typically Frisellian rocking-blues feel, followed by the wistful, echoing melody of Somewhere and the Celtic-sounding Cry Alone. Eyvind Kang's quivering viola melody and Jenny Scheinman's dark cello chords make a desolate drama out of The Animals, and Shacked Up a wonderful bleary blues. Frisell's consistent inventiveness is remarkable, and Big Sur sounds as close to essential as most of his recent work. SEE THE REVIEW PAGE