24 June 2006

Bill Frisell

Shen 'n' Done it

Most of you plebs won't get the chance to savour Guitar Heaven this way, so let me taunt you.

It salutes fellow ex-Bainbridge strummer Bill Frisell, about whom superlatives haven't yet been adequately souped to convey the fretty pearls he plunks before us.

BF has a live East/West double-CD album, featuring on track 3 of the "West" disk *the* most amazing delivery of "Shenandoah".

  • Bill on guitar, loops
  • On bass, the energetic and ever-listening Viktor Krauss
  • On batterie, Woody Allen-lookalike Kenny Wolleson who must be a joy for Bill to play with.

    strereo savvy poolA joy to listen, it is, too, specially in the pool, Track 3 turned up to 11, a cooling Mythos beer, chatting to assorted pals.

    They're musicians - classical chamber types and some bouzouki players. They're vaguely aware that I've got some muzak piping thru the cunning sound system:

    Wharfedale woofers either side of the pool, midis of uncertain brand (Nakamichi, I think) and some J&B tweeters that messes with the local bats's GPS.

    The thing about this track - and if you haven't got the album, hie thee hurriedly to the Glass Onion and grab it - is that at a crucial point clever producer Lee Townsend ramps up the balance to greet both channels, and we're away.

    Except you're never *quite* away with Frisell because he plays it and then he plays it and then he plays it again and each time you're asking yourself did you *really* think you knew the fabric of the song.

    Plus, NO one can build the excitement like Frisell.

    As the improvs grew, the pool fell silenter.

    Bill hit a hit high note that absolutely *had* to have come off, or cancel the whole recording and the cellist asked "This is live?"

    I mean, do listen to it.

    Oh OK, I know it won't be the same as lolling dans un pool with volume and production values the same as it must have been on set, but I'm sure your dinky Costco set-up is perfectly adequate to get *some* of the flavour.
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