Songs We Know

Bill Frisell / Fred Hersch

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Songs We Know Review

by Scott Yanow

At first glance, the combination of pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Bill Frisell as a duo might not seem all that logical, particularly if one relies on stereotypes that only fit part of their music (i.e., Hersch is an introspective player in the Bill Evans vein, while Frisell is a sound-oriented guitarist influenced by rock). In reality, both Hersch and Frisell are well-rounded, versatile players who share an adventurous spirit and a strong musical curiosity. The nature of their collaboration is a bit of a surprise; rather than playing originals specifically written for the occasion, Hersch and Frisell simply decided to perform songs that they have enjoyed for many years but have rarely had a chance to record. Few sparks fly; most of the quiet duets are quite relaxed, and although perfectly suitable as high-quality background music, this encounter is a slight disappointment. Considering the two giants involved, one would expect something fresh and original to emerge when they explore such songs as "There Is No Greater Love," "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," "I Got Rhythm" and "What Is This Thing Called Love." A bit forgettable.

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