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Album Review

Frisell, Bill – “Bill Frisell With Dave Holland and Elvin Jones ” – [Nonesuch]

ArtCrimes   9/30/2008   CD, Jazz

It’s true that Bill Frisell’s companions here have considerable seniority over him, with Dave Holland having backed both Miles Davis and Chick Corea in the early 70s, and Elvin Jones having backed Coltrane in the 60s, but Frisell is clearly leading the sessions, providing all the compositions, save a cover of “Moon River” and Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times”. Jones was probably one of the more aggressive and propulsive drummers of his time, and Frisell’s slippery, slow motion moves provide a lot of tension in the other direction. Where they all seem to interlock are the more blues-based selections (like opener “Outlaws”), when they relax mutually, while the country-ish material that Bill loves doesn’t jive so well with Elvin’s more ahead of the beat approach (as on “Hard Times”). But Elvin hangs back and just swings as needed on other tracks, often barely touching his kit. Holland is elegant and tasteful throughout, present primarily for structure rather than showing off. A bit of overdubbing has Frisell building on the arrangements with loops and acoustic/electric combinations.

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