Music good 88.
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The Bill Frisell Quartet
The Bill Frisell Quartet concert last week was simply a rare treat. The audience did not really know what it was going to get. Frisell has been plying a twangy, relaxed country style sort of sound for several years now and, truth be told, the effect was beginning to wear a bit thin. Then his latest CD, the double History, Mystery album, covered broad musical and stylistic territory. Add to that Frisell's statement before he came here that he had no idea what the band was going to play.
What we might not have taken into account was the fact that the man is a definitively laid-back dude, so a situation in which anything goes is his natural artistic habitat. And with three sidemen of the highest caliber and a similar ability to listen, take stock and go with the flow, you get that most special of all jazz milieus.
The music ebbed and flowed with a sort of laissez faire mindset. But the individual and combined musicianship was always of the very highest quality. Cornetist Ron Miles imbued the proceedings with grace, bassist Tony Scherr kept the groove deep and strong and drummer Rudy Royston's playing was always inventive and fun. All the while, Frisell flitted effortlessly and seamlessly between airy minimalist muses, downright bluesy intent and rock-inflected distortion that hit the audience where it mattered.
The applause was always rapturous and Frisell and the band even gave two generous encores. One looks forward to Frisell's return with anticipation.