Guitar in the Space Age Bill Frisell

Cover Guitar in the Space Age

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  • 1Pipeline07:06
  • 2Turn, Turn, Turn02:40
  • 3Messin' with the Kid02:59
  • 4Surfer Girl04:14
  • 5Rumble04:56
  • 6The Shortest Day04:57
  • 7Rebel Rouser03:39
  • 8Baja03:37
  • 9Cannonball Rag02:56
  • 10Tired of Waiting for You06:02
  • 11Reflections from the Moon03:21
  • 12Bryant's Boogie03:09
  • 13Lift Off02:17
  • 14Telstar03:15
  • Total Runtime55:08

Info for Guitar in the Space Age

„Guitar in the Space Age! finds guitarist Bill Frisell going back in time to the guitar music of the country, surf, blues, and early rock & roll of the late 1950s through the mid-'60s: the music that initially inspired him.

His band -- Greg Leisz on guitar and pedal steel, drummer /vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen, and bassist Tony Scherr -- are all longtime associates. Though most of these songs are classics -- there are two originals -- Frisell reimagines them in a jazzman's context while remaining faithful to familiar presentations. This is demonstrated amply on the opening surf nugget 'Pipeline.'

Rather than go straight for the jugular the way most (gimmicky) remakes do, he slows its pace by half and focuses on the intricate melody at work, slightly skewing its rhythmic attack toward moody post-bop swing. Pete Seeger's 'Turn, Turn, Turn' mirrors the Byrds' version with its guitar jangle, but also blurs the space between folk's simple presentation, rock & roll's hooky harmonies, and jazz's nuance.

Junior Wells' 'Messin' with the Kid' contains some of the swaggering boogie of the original, but there's more restrained precision in Frisell's staccato playing, as well as an intense wah-wah groove; it's at a low boil rather than a roiling one. Brian Wilson's 'Surfer Girl' asks the question as to why the Beach Boys' famed composer doesn't get the interpretive treatment from jazzmen that other pop acts of the era do. Link Wray's 'Rumble' gets the serious wailing blues-cum-surf workout it's always deserved, with an orgy of tremolo and reverb reflecting its debt to the composer. 'Rebel Rouser' reveals more clearly than any other version its lyric inspiration -- 'When the Saints Go Marching In' -- without giving up the strutting twang. The intro to 'Baja' -- Lee Hazlewood's 1963 hit for the Astronauts -- with Leisz on alternate lead guitar showcases remarkable interplay with multi-textured dynamics and popping rock & roll drums. 'Reflections from the Moon' and 'Bryant's Boogie,' by instrumental country duo Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant, respectively, shine in their hard-swinging jazz syncopations and advanced harmonics. The closer is an absolutely majestic version of Joe Meek's 'Telstar,' with Leisz's pedal steel extrapolating on Frisell's gorgeous articulation of the melody. Scherr wraps his bass between the two as Wollesen simultaneously swings and rocks. Guitar in the Space Age! is a joyous recording.

Far from an exercise in mere nostalgia, it reveals new reasons as to why these tunes are eternal. Frisell and his collaborators understood exactly what they were going for, and it sounds like they had a hell of a great time getting there.“ (Thom Jurek, AMG)

Bill Frisell, electric guitar
Greg Leisz, pedal steel guitar, electric guitar
Tony Scherr, bass, acoustic guitar (on 'Rebel Rouser“)
Kenny Wollesen, drums, percussion, vibes

Recorded at Flora Recording and Playback, Portland, OR
Engineered by Lynne Earls and Tucker Martine
Produced by Lee Townsend

Bill Frisell
Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 40 years and many celebrated recordings, whose catalog has been cited by Downbeat as "the best recorded output of the decade."

Released March of ’18, Frisell’s latest album for OKeh/Sony is a solo album titled, Music IS - "Taken as a whole, the album beautifully encapsulates Frisell’s depth and range in all its meditative glory."- Chicago Reader. It was recorded in August, 2017 at Tucker Martine’s Flora Recording and Playback studio in Portland, Oregon and produced by longtime collaborator Lee Townsend. All of the compositions on Music IS were written by Frisell, some of them brand new – Change in the Air, Thankful, What Do You Want, Miss You and Go Happy Lucky – others being solo adaptations of now classic original compositions he had previously recorded, such as Ron Carter, Pretty Stars, Monica Jane, and The Pioneers. In Line, and Rambler are from Frisell’s first two ECM albums.

Frisell’s previous project, the Grammy nominated When You Wish Upon a Star also with OKeh/Sony, germinated at Lincoln Center during his two-year appointment as guest curator for the Roots of Americana series (September ’13 – May ’15). It features Frisell with vocalist Petra Haden, Eyvind Kang (viola), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) performing Frisell’s arrangements and interpretations of Music from Film and Television. Jazz Times described the project as follows: "unforgettable themes are the real draw here, reconfigured with ingenuity, wit and affection by Frisell and a terrific group."

"Frisell has had a lot of practice putting high concept into a humble package. Long hailed as one of the most distinctive and original improvising guitarists of our time, he has also earned a reputation for teasing out thematic connections with his music... There’s a reason that Jazz at Lincoln Center had him program a series called Roots of Americana." - New York Times

Recognized as one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in 2012. He is also a recipient of grants from United States Artists, Meet the Composer among others. In 2016, he was a beneficiary of the first FreshGrass Composition commission to preserve and support innovative grassroots music. Upon San Francisco Jazz opening their doors in 2013, he served as one of their Resident Artistic Directors. Bill is also the subject of a new documentary film by director Emma Franz, entitled Bill Frisell: A Portrait, which examines his creative process in depth.

Booklet for Guitar in the Space Age

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