Frisell's "Beautiful Dreamers" Released on Savoy
Bill Frisell signed with Savoy/429 Records in the fall of 2010 and released “Beautiful Dreamers” — a stunning recording consisting of new original compositions and striking reinterpretations featuring Eyvind Kang (viola) and Rudy Royston (drums). Produced by Lee Townsend, engineered by Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and mastered with Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in New York, “Beautiful Dreamers” captures the magic of one of Frisell's most personal statements in seamless and stimulating musical dialogue with his band mates Kang and Royston.
When listening to Bill Frisell play, it’s easy to forget you’re hearing an electric guitar. Through touch, tone and voicings that are free of the usual six-string tropes, his instrument can sound, variously, like a pedal steel, a toy piano, a string quartet, a church bell, a plane in the distance, even a human voice.
This remarkable gift continues to serve him well on his 29th solo album, whether he’s covering Stephen Foster (“Beautiful Dreamer”), Benny Goodman (“Benny’s Bugle”) or Teddy Randazzo (“Goin’ Out of My Head”), or playing his own spooky, cinematic tunes like “Baby Cry,” “Winslow Homer” and “Better Than a Machine.” The striking originality of the arrangements Frisell creates with viola player Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston can even transform ancient Tin Pan Alley fare like “Tea for Two” or “Keep on the Sunny Side” into something startlingly fresh and modern.
Recorded at Fantasy Studios and produced by longtime collaborator Lee Townsend, this record doesn’t really sound much like jazz as much as compelling, emotionally resonant, genre-free music. Sure, it swings in places, and there’s some fiery improvisation. But after decades of trodding such a brave and singular path, maybe Frisell deserves his own genre. How about “friz”? - Bill DeMain, JazzTimes (Oct. 2010)
"Magical!" .... Mike Hobart, Financial Times (London)
“On Beautiful Dreamers, Frisell uses works by Stephen Foster, Blind Willie Johnson, The Carter Family and Benny Goodman, along with Burt Bacharach-style pop, as springboards for wiry, bluesy, and distinctly rocking works of his own. The two sets of compositions co-exist on Beautiful Dreamers as musical cousins. Their stylistically familial ties surface with every listen. And Beautiful Dreamers is an album you will want to revisit often..... Like so many Frisell groups, this trio unfolds its music with a sound that is light yet lush, in a manner that is purposeful but unhurried... But the highlight sits in the middle of the album with a Frisell original dedicated to the late songsmith Vic Chesnutt, titled “Better Than a Machine”. In this dreamscape recording of Americana accents, the tune beams as a blast of bright, poppish sunshine. It's indeed the moment when the already attractive Beautiful Dreamers becomes even lovelier.” By Walter Tunis, www.kentucky.com