Petra Haden & Bill Frisell
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Petra Haden - vocals, violin
Bill Frisell - electric and acoustic guitars, loops
produced by Lee Townsend
Engineered by: Tucker Martine
Mastering by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City
recorded and mixed at Trillium Lane Studios
Bainbridge Island, Washington
assistant and editing engineer: Chadwick Dahlquist
True North Records
Year Released: 2005
I Don't Want to Grow Up
The Quiet Room
When You Wish Upon a Star
John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man
I've Got a Crush On You
"The duo date of vocalist/violinist Petra Haden and guitarist Bill Frisell is a delicate flower with deep roots. Quiet, intimate and softly floating, this album is an eclectic mix of mild-mannered pop tunes that matter. There's chemistry between Haden and Frisell—the former a founder of the hip, now-defunct '90s Los Angeles pop band that dog and daughter of jazz bassist Charlie Haden, and the latter a musical omnivore who loves folk-based tunes, even though he can tastefully shred strings in the right jazz setting. In addition to noteworthy covers of Coldplay's "Yellow" and Stevie Wonder's "I Believe," Haden & Frisell shine on their moody crawl through "Moon River" and their exploration of the traditional Tuvan song "Bai-la Taigam."
- Dan Ouellette, Billboard
The Washington Post
By Geoffrey Himes
"The dozen tracks on "Petra Haden and Bill Frisell" include songs from Stevie
Wonder, the Foo Fighters, George Gershwin, Coldplay, Henry Mancini, Tom Waits,
Elliot Smith and Jiminy Cricket, but the guitar-fiddle-and-voice arrangements
resemble chamber-music treatments of old-time country music. Haden's light soprano
offers an admirable blend of intimacy and dignity, and Frisell's guitar work
uncovers surprising musical possibilities in these familiar songs."
Petra Haden and Bill Frisell
Collection of duets beautifully combines 2 artists of many talents.
If the two names above aren't familiar to most, their collaborative effort released nationwide today will make a perfect introduction to their musical talents. Haden is a fine singer-songwriter-violinist who had some success as a member of the indie-pop trio that dog during the mid- to late-'90s. Her father is the great jazz bassist Charlie Haden, who guitarist Frisell has known through their common jazz background. Frisell's fret work has distinguished itself over the years for its filigreed, textural sound, sensitively blending rock and country with jazz, blues and electronica loops. Because of that, Frisell has been known to work with other venturesome artists, such as Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones, Marianne Faithfull and U2's Bono. So it's no surprise that he would team up with the like-minded Haden on this excellent duet project.
With production help from Frisell's longtime producer Lee Townsend, the 12 tracks collected here all have a quiet musical intensity, buoyed by Haden's lovely voice and supportive violin playing.
Two original compositions, the instrumentals "The Quiet Room" and "Throughout," have a meditative quality. Much of the album consists of covers, ranging from standards to some surprising contemporary choices. It says something of their combined talents that they can take such near-hoary ol' songs as "Moon River," "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "I've Got a Crush on You," and polish them to a sweet and tender glow.
Of the more recent songs, they pay tribute to the late Elliott Smith with the opening "Satellite," followed by a languid take on the Foo Fighters' "Floaty," which emphasizes writer Dave Grohl's strong sense of melody. Two of the better covers are a good-humored "I Don't Want to Grow Up" that gives the Tom Waits song an around-the-campfire quality, and an open-hearted version of Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)."
Haden and Frisell have truly made a gem of an album. - Gary C.W. Chun, starbulletin.com
An arty singer-songwriter album. And a fine one at that.
Haden's dark, ethereal alto voice betrays an intimacy with both pain and joy, without a trace of cynicism or fear. There's a child-like openness about her as well as a quietly fierce honesty and intelligence. Her inner resolve in the face of emotional pain comes though on Ellott Smith's "Satellite". She shows a dreamy, ecstatic side on the Foo Fighters' "Floaty". And on her own "The Quiet Room", she creates a child-like sense of contentment and security.
Haden also know the virtues of simplicity, delivering direct and unadorned version of Tom Waits' "I Don't Want to Grow Up" and the traditional folk song "John Hardy was a Desperate Little Man".
Frisell crafts subtle atmospheric settings of each tune—something he has always excelled at. He wraps Haden's voice in layers of translucent sound in which colors bleed slowly into one another; hooks and melodies materialize briefly and fade into the background; and blues, country and jazz elements coexist with a jovial familiarity. Haden and Frisell make compelling music,
however you want to label it. - Jazziz
"There is a diverse background and culture immersed in this music that comes to a full boil. After the influences, background and training take a back seat, what you get is a simmering stew of music and personality that makes up all of these beautiful tracks. This is the essence of two people playing off each other's strengths.
Haden has an endearing and sweet voice and Frisell's guitar is just as elegant and persuasive.... it is difficult to tuck it away in a neat pile and put it on the shelf under jazz, rock or pop. It's all of that and more done in an original and definitive way.
This is an opportunity to find something new in the tried and tested, like some of the standards that this duo explores through their own unique vision.
Have a look for yourself; you never know what you might find." - Jazzreview.com
"This is a true duet album, not simply a singer being backed by a stellar accompanist. Petra Haden's vocals, alone or with some judiciously deployed overdubbed harmonizing, move with a fluidity that is perfectly mirrored in Bill Frisell's guitar phrasing and sonorities. Playing covers (with a pair of originals) further celebrates the common ground they share. All of the songs are linked by their melodic bearing, whether originally performed by current bands like Foo Fighters and Coldplay or such contemporary writers as Tom Waits and Stevie Wonder. They also looked beyond the realm of the rock world with twentieth century standard bearers George Gershwin and Henry Mancini. Drawing from jazz, folk, pop, and rock, this album bridges them all, tossing aside labels with the same gentle confidence that informs the music." - Amazon.com Editorial Review