Even Damon Albarn and Jack White have some distance to go to equal the genre-bending achievements of Bill Frisell, not just the outstanding jazz guitarist of his era but also the most diversely prolific, equally at home providing accompaniment to Buster Keaton movies as he is collaborating with Elvis Costello.
Following February's sublime compilation of folk-song interpretations, and just a few weeks after appearing at the Meltdown festival as part of Ornette Coleman's band, comes Disfarmer, a series of instrumentals inspired by the life and photographs of Arkansas photographer Michael Disfarmer, who documented the lives of pre-war rural southerners in vividly atmospheric portraits and vistas."Disfarmer Theme" sets the tone, a limpid waltz of gentle, unhurried pace, with Frisell's characteristically glistening guitar lines accompanied by violin and glints of pedal steel guitar. Alongside his own compositions such as "Peter Miller's Discovery", a methodical two-step of warmth and subtlety, Frisell also offers a few period covers, with "Lovesick Blues" a relaxed dance of guitar and pedal steel, and "That's Alright, Mama" treated as slinky Western Swing, with touches of intriguing mandolin/guitar interplay adding an astringent edge to the smooth flow.
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