CD REVIEW: Bill Frisell – Guitar In The Space Age!

Bill Frisell – Guitar in the Space Age!
(Okeh Records. 8843074612. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)

A new album of Bill Frisell playing pop standards from the 1960s was an exciting prospect. Frisell, a chimeric, eclectic artist, often includes pop songs in his live sets: the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood seems to be a particular favourite of his. The deconstruction of I Heard It Through The Grapevine on East/West is masterly, taking an iconic, well loved tune and making something completely new from it. East/West contains other pop songs, too, like Dylan’s Hard Rain and Willie Nelson’s Crazy.

Used to Frisell carving something new from old material, then, I was disappointed. There are fourteen tracks tracks on this CD – two are originals, the rest are hits from the fifties and sixties. The latter are played pretty straight, particularly rhythmically. Where I hoped Frisell would grab the tunes and make them his own, what we get are pretty standard covers. The Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn, Link Wray’s Rumble, the Kinks’ Tired of Waiting for You, Joe Meeks’ Telstar, all get the treatment, but to my ears nothing new is added.

Frisell coaxes some great sounds from his guitar and his quartet are very able, and it is an enjoyable enough collection; but it promised so much more.

 REVIEW: Guitar in the Space Age live at the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival

CD REVIEW: Bill Frisell’s Big Sur

Categories: miscellaneous

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