Disfarmer, Frisell's Newest at NPR
I think it’s safe for me to say that my favorite jazz guitarist is Bill Frisell. McLaughlin being a close second. I haven’t heard a Frisell album that I haven’t loved yet. And his new one is no exception. NPR Music is streaming that record, Disfarmer, [Nonesuch Preorder Link] with an interesting set article titled “Is Bill Frisell A ‘Post-Americana Artist?”
I don’t think I care to throw my hat in on that question, but I will say that his Americana-themed work is some of my favorite. Being a guitar player myself and working with a few folk-ier songwriters in the past few years, these records – Blues Dream, Nashville, Good Dog, Happy Man, to name a few – have been a great reference for hearing how a simple progression or melody can be turned into something that transcends those changes. That is, in the hands of a master musician like Frisell.
I still from time to time learn his forms and melodies. I’m sure I’ll get going on Disfarmer when I get my copy. Funny how I always feel the need to break out my Anthology of American Folk Music box to hear tunes like “The Butcher’s Boy” (see the Elvis Costello cover) or play through “Frankie,” after I hear these records. Lots of great tunes on that box. It gets my highest of recommendations.
Anyway, great article/review over there. Definitely worth the read. And certainly worth the listen. Here’s an excerpt.
“Really, I see Frisell as part of a larger wave of postmodernism sweeping over jazz. Once the idea of stylistic linear progress (Armstrong begat Eldridge begat Gillespie, etc) exploded into a thousand different directions sometime around 1970, and now that we even have such a thing as The Jazz Canon to talk about, and now that we’re getting closer to having all recorded music ever available on demand, jazz musicians today feel liberated to mix and match their influences.”