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History, Mystery

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iTunes Review

Veteran guitarist Bill Frisell is known for his unique mix of jazz, folk, country, and other American musical strains, and on History, Mystery, he runs with that vision. The expansive album’s material draws from scores that Frisell wrote for three projects: two stage presentations by the visual artist Jim Woodring, Mysterio Simpatico and Probability Cloud; and the NPR radio show, Stories From the Heart of the Land. The bulk of the double-disc is made up of original compositions, but there are also choice covers of Boubacar Traore (“Baba Drame”), Sam Cooke (“A Change is Gonna Come”), Thelonious Monk (“Jackie-ing”), and Lee Konitz (“Sub-Conscious Lee”). It’s easy to imagine the versatile octet that appears on History, Mystery sounding equally at home in a concert hall or an intimate club. (Violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, and cellist Hank Roberts imbue the string arrangements with a strikingly distinctive sound.) Highlights abound — tenor saxophonist Greg Tardy letting loose on “Sub-Conscious Lee,” the ensemble work on the tango-tinged “Probability Cloud,” Frisell’s rootsy guitar on “Monroe Part 2”— and plenty more to explore on this fine album.

Customer Reviews

Love it!

I suggest listening from track 1 and never stopping! This is a wonderfully rich listening experience. I love iTunes, but you might want to think about visiting Nonesuch Records and buying History, Mystery in 320kbps quality for less $ and you get a CD as well! My 2¢.

frisell nice new cd

always fun to hear the musical voice of bill frissell. It just seems that there is a lot of musical knowledge behind his music. If you don't get it on the first listening I would strongily suggest listening until you hear it. Thanks Bill for another interesting musical adventure.

Bill is just doing his thing!

Doing it with the aid of some good friends too. His concept, while very personal, is open and inviting enough to let them shine too and of course he gives like space and welcome to his imagination's melodies. This is groovy Bill. Hear his left hand in Subconscious-Lee, that is time!


Born: March 18, 1951 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The defining characteristic of any given jazz musician is frequently his sound. The more control a player has over the nature of that sound, the more likely he is to project a distinctive musical personality. For example, a saxophonist has virtually unlimited physical control of the sound that comes through his horn, and therefore a wide range of tonal expression at his command, which partially explains the disproportionate number of saxophonists in the pantheon of great jazz musicians. On the other...
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