Stories » Bill Frisell - Music for Strings / theguardian review

Top 10 for Sep

Bill Frisell - Music for Strings / theguardian review

Bookmark and Share

A string quartet at Ronnie Scott's, the temple of roaring horn riffs, smoky tenor sax canoodlings and sizzling cymbal grooves? Bill Frisell brought in just such a jazz rare breed this week, featuring himself on electric guitar alongside violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang and cellist Hank Roberts. They intuitively segued between blues, rockabilly, bebop and avant-improv with barely so much as a prompting nod, and if this often delicate music might have had a tougher time on a rowdy Frith Street Saturday night, it held the Monday audience rapt.

They opened as if it were a free-improv gig, with the acoustic players bowing gently dissonant sweeps while Frisell pinged soft harmonics – a long state of suspended animation abruptly ended by a single humming tremolo chord, as if Duane Eddy had usurped the leader's place. A chugging groove sprang up, for Kang to develop in slippery, sitar-like variations and the straighter-toned Scheinman in swerving long lines and barn-dance chords, before Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land glimmered and then vanished. Frisell's quietly plucked solo introduction to Fats Waller's Jitterbug Waltz became a clamour of arrhythmic pizzicato playing and bass-like improvised counterpoint from Roberts' cello; a surprisingly respectful From Russia With Love brought smiles; and Thelonious Monk's Skippy fizzed with beboppish drive.  READ THE FULL guardian REVIEW

READ THE Financial Times ARTICLE