March 3rd, 2009
Bill Frisell watches Russell Malone as they play during the first set at the Triple Door on Weds Feb 25th.
What a fantastic show. The interplay of the guitar voices was fabulous. It was wonderful to hear the two of them when they each played a solo but mostly when they played so well together, whether on some old classic by T. Monk or the old Monkey’s tune “Last Train to Clarksville” or a Hank Williams tune. A delightful mix to the set.
“It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he’s found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play. Unlike other pastichists, who tend to duck passion, Mr. Frisell plays up the pleasure in the music and also takes on another often-avoided subject, tenderness.” – The New York Times.
Over the years, Frisell has contributed to the work of such collaborators as Elvis Costello, Ginger Baker, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Suzanne Vega, Loudon Wainwright III, Van Dyke Parks, Vic Chesnutt, Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Marianne Faithful, John Scofield, film director Gus Van Sant, David Sanborn, David Sylvian, Petra Haden and numerous others, including Bono, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and Daniel Lanois on the soundtrack for Wim Wenders’ film Million Dollar Hotel. This work has established Frisell as one of the most sought-after guitar voices in contemporary music. The breadth of such performing and recording situations is a testament not only to his singular guitar conception, but his musical versatility as well. This, however, is old news by now. In recent years, it is Frisell’s role as composer and band leader which has garnered him increasing notoriety.
Ever since Charlie “Bird” Parker recorded his (first) Charlie Parker With Strings sessions in 1949 and 1950, jazz artists have celebrated their romantic sides by employing lush string sections. Everyone from Chet Baker to Clifford Brown to Wes Montgomery did some of their best work in the presence of string sections, and on Heartstrings (Verve), Russell Malone puts his own spin on the jazz-with-strings tradition. Those who think that they’ve heard it all when it comes to strings projects are in for a surprise; Heartstrings, the swinging yet lyrical guitarist’s sixth album, is full of gems that jazzmen often overlook. Typically, a jazz-with-strings project will emphasize what has often been called “The Great American Songbook”—namely, well-known standards of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. But on Heartstrings, which was produced by the GRAMMY®-winning Verve Music Group Chairman Tommy LiPuma, Malone doesn’t limit himself to the George Gershwin and Cole Porter standards that jazz artists have recorded time and time again. Employing a solid rhythm section (pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts) and three different string arrangers (pianist Alan Broadbent, Brazilian great Dori Caymmi, and the famous Mandel), Malone lends his unmistakable sound to everything from an Anne Murray hit (“You Needed Me”) to a gospel favorite (“What A Friend We Have in Jesus”) to the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne gem “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry.”
More pictures to follow tomorrow. It is getting late.
Photograph by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a photojournalist specializing in photojournalism and portrait photography for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning Seattle wedding photography and wedding photojournalism ranked among the best Seattle wedding photographers.