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Bill Frisell - Music IS / the arts fuse review

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In 1982, after having recorded with European bassists Eberhard Weber (Fluid Rustle, ECM) and Arild Andersen (A Molde Concert, ECM), and with drummer Paul Motian (Psalm, ECM) along with Chet Baker, Tony Scott, and Mike Metheny, guitarist Bill Frisell made his own, mostly solo, record, In Line for ECM. 

He returned to the solo format in 1999 with Ghost Town. On guitar, banjo, and bass (also drawing on tape loops), he played originals, such as "Creep," but also the Carter Family's hit "Wildwood Flower" and Hank Williams' plaintive "I Am So Lonesome I Could Cry." It's taken 18 years for Frisell to issue another solo record: Music IS. It may be his best yet. Having compared Frisell to Pollock, I was amused to see that he has penned a tribute to a much different painter, "Winslow Homer." With its eccentric accents and delayed entrances, it's a blues that could have been composed by T.S. Monk. As Frisell improvises inventively, though without entirely abandoning his original melody, the guitarist gradually adds layers of over-dubbed material. Despite the complication, every line is lucid and the composition moves along joyously. His "Pretty Stars" boasts what sounds like an inevitable melody. But, of course, there's more to the track than its lyricism.

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