Bill Frisell

Before We Were Born

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Before We Were Born Review

by Scott Yanow

Bill Frisell has been one of the most unique jazz-based guitarists of the 1980s and '90s, a very eclectic player who can switch styles and sounds on a moment's notice, yet is always quite distinctive. On this atmospheric and picturesque set, Frisell uses his regular quartet of the time (cellist Hank Roberts, bassist Kermit Driscoll and drummer Joey Baron) on some selections, but also interacts with fellow guitarist Arto Lindsay, keyboardist Peter Scherer and, on "Some Song and Dance," baritonist Doug Wieselman and both Julius Hemphill and Billy Drewes on altos. A special highlight is the episodic "Hard Plains Drifter," which has this as a subtitle: "As I take my last breath and the noose grows tight, the incredible events of the past three days flash before my eyes." A very intriguing and colorful set of eccentric music.

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