Live In Florence, Italy - February 10th, 1993
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RECORDED LIVE IN
FLORENCE, ITALY 02/10/93
Release Date: June 28th, 2012
Don Byron - clarinets
SET 1 / CD 1
All songs written by Aaron Copland except: I Can't Be Satisfied
by McKinley Morganfield; Little Jenny Dow by Stephen Foster; Unsung Heroes
by Bill Frisell; Have A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt; Washington Post
March by John Phillip Sousa; Just Like A Woman by Bob Dylan.
Frisell Archivist: Martin Lane
A Songline / Tone Field Production
Perhaps the real find of the latest batch of live downloads, this 1993 quintet performance focuses largely on Frisell's most unique cover recording, Have a Little Faith, with material coming from sources as divergent as pop megastar Madonna, singer/songwriters Bob Dylan and John Hiatt, bluesman McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters), tenor sax giant Sonny Rollins, and classical composers Aaron Copland and Charles Ives.
One of the many highlights of this 126-minute show is a complete performance of Have a Little Faith's quirky, "Billy the Kid," here expanding Copland's well-known suite to over twenty-seven minutes and allowing the quintet—with clarinetist Don Byron, accordionist Guy Klucevsek, bassist Kermit Driscoll and drummer Joey Baron—more room to move. Only the playful "Street Scene in a Frontier Town" is a more-or-less faithful replication of the album track—and, curiously, is swapped in running order with the most expanded movement, the seven-and-a-half-minute "Mexican Dance and Finale." It's been nearly 18 years since the core trio of this group (Frisell, Driscoll and Baron) played together, and Frisell's ability to find other bassists and drummers has been nothing short of remarkable, with bassists including Viktor Krauss and Tony Scherr, and drummers Rudy Royston and Kenny Wollesen, but his first trio remains special one, in particular Baron, whose huge smile while playing is so clearly reflected in what can be heard without seeing him, his solo on "Prairie Night (Card Game at Night)" a perfect combination of focused construction and reckless abandon.
Other highlights from Have a Little Faith are Ives' dark "The 'Saint-Gaudens' in Boston Common" and, in Stephen Foster's "Little Jenny Dow," evidence that Frisell's Americana predilections were, as he suggested in his 2011 All About Jazz Interview, there all along. But beyond material fromHave a Little Faith, this live set also provides the chance to hear more music from the forthcomingThis Land, even thought the actual sextet that recorded one of Frisell's best albums of original compositions has already been released performing half a dozen of its tracks on #009: Recorded Live in New York, NY 10/12/92 (Songline/Tonefield, 2010).
Here, the set opens with a more atmospheric version of "Jimmy Carter, Pt. 1," morphing into a free improvisation that finally resolves into a gradually intensifying look at "Strange Meeting"—a song that Frisell performed regularly in his early days, after first appearing on Rambler (ECM, 1984), but which has sadly been missing from more recent set lists (time to revive it, perhaps?). It's also an opportunity to hear "Unsung Heroes," from one of Frisell's most overlooked yet impressive recordings, 1991's Where in the World, which formed something of an aesthetic triptych with Have a Little Faith and This Land. Here, stretched out to nearly fourteen minutes in length, it raises the question and hopes that, if Frisell's quartet with Roberts, Driscoll and Baron toured Where in the World, perhaps Blomberg will be able to find a release-worthy live recording as a future Live Download Series installment. "Pip, Squeak" is another piece from Frisell's relatively early days, initially found on Before We Were Born but also available in a trio version onLive (Gramavision, 1995). Here, with the addition of Byron and Klucevesk, it may simply be the best version on record—form and freedom finding their way to a perfect nexus point.