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Ghost Town
     

Ghost Town

by Bill Frisell
 
With each recording, Bill Frisell further eludes classification. Judging from the captivating solo recital GHOST TOWN, it would be a stretch to call the Seattle-based instrumentalist and composer a jazz guitarist, a label most listeners would automatically pin on him. Sure, there's improvisation here, but one would be hard pressed to say that Frisell tries to "swing"

Overview

With each recording, Bill Frisell further eludes classification. Judging from the captivating solo recital GHOST TOWN, it would be a stretch to call the Seattle-based instrumentalist and composer a jazz guitarist, a label most listeners would automatically pin on him. Sure, there's improvisation here, but one would be hard pressed to say that Frisell tries to "swing" in any conventional notion of jazz rhythm. No, at this point in his three-decade career it's best to identify Frisell as a "creative" guitarist and leave it at that. For GHOST TOWN is nothing if not the work of a creative musician, one whose ambition matches his imagination and finesse as a player. Frisell's stylistic vocabulary embraces country, folk, rock, blues and new classical, among other musical genres, but his sui generis blend makes it all come out, well, "Frisellian". He takes on a smattering of familiar settings --- Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," (from "Porgy and Bess"), The Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower," Hank Williams's classic weeper "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and John McLaughlin's "Follow Your Heart"-- but, for the most part, confines himself to original compositions that allow him to display his less-is-more, anti-guitar-hero style to great advantage. Frisell lets exacting tone and the perfectly chosen note be his expressive tools -- his taste and sly wit say more than flying fingers ever could.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
While Bill Frisell has released plenty of albums under his own name, this is his first true solo album -- the first on which he plays all of the instruments himself. These include electric and acoustic guitar, six-string banjo, and bass, as well as the occasional looped sample. To call the music he creates on this album "introspective" would be something of an understatement. This won't come as a complete surprise to his fans -- there has always been a gentle and meditative quality to his music, and even when he's gotten wild with his trio or with downtown pals like John Zorn or Vernon Reid, those moments of abrasive abandon have always seemed like detours from his more natural, but no less inventive and interesting, sweetness and good humor. But there's a darkness around the edges this time out that is unusual, as if he's lonely playing by himself and a little bit unnerved at the thoughts and feelings he's being forced to face on his own. His rendition of the A.P. Carter classic "Wildwood Flower" starts out with an extended Delta-blues introduction, which is a pretty unusual choice. There are other cover versions, including Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," both of which deeply explore the emotional wreckage described by the songs' lyrics; his own compositions, such as the vaguely surfy "Variation on a Theme" and the slightly ominous "Big Bob," seem to be cut out of similar cloth. There are moments of light relief, such as the gently lovely title track and the brief banjo interlude "Fingers Snappin' and Toes Tappin'," but the overall mood here is relatively dark, though consistently beautiful.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2000
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597958324
catalogNumber:
79583
Rank:
60182

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