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Rant N Roll: Whimsical Frisell / Aquarian Weekly

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Guitarists come and guitarists go and a few of them seemingly stick around forever. Bill Frisell, 63, is in this latter category. He's kissed the sky so many times in his evolving artistry that I thought I had him pegged as this avant-garde fusionist with forays into classical, noise and complex jazz. As house guitarist for ECM Records, he'd played with the brightest and the most adventurous of them all. In the all-too-hip New York City loft scene of the 1980s, his wizardry astounded even the most jaded of hipsters.

But with the release of Guitar In The Space Age! (Okeh) late last year, he proves once again, he is not to be categorized. For it is here that he fondly remembers what got him there in the first place: "Tired Of Waiting" by The Kinks, "Pipeline" by The Chantays, "Rumble" by Link Wray, "Rebel Rouser" by Duane Eddy, "Baja" by The Astronauts, "Cannonball Rag" by Merle Travis, "Bryant's Boogie" by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West, "Surfer Girl" by The Beach Boys, "Turn Turn Turn" by The Byrds and five more delicious morsels of basic, succinct, primal instrumental prowess.

Helped along by a second electric, pedal steel, drums, vibraphone, acoustic and electric bass, acoustic guitar and slide guitar, Frisell plays these simplistic childlike mantras to his youth like a man committed to reaffirming his own value system. Jimi Hendrix said "may you never hear surf music again" as he ripped open the guts of novelty hits. Sun Ra said "space is the place" for his astral projections. Apparently, Bill Frisell is saying he's not the serious musician you think he is all the time. He probably reads comic books and watches cartoons because he obviously still loves this teenage twang.  SEE THE Aquarian Weekly PAGE