10 PM show is canceled.
On his arresting new solo album, Silent Comedy
(Tzadik), a fully improvised session recorded in December, guitarist Bill Frisell
deploys his entire vocabulary—thick harmonic tangles, pastoral melodic fragments, whiplash-inducing effects-pedal hopping, jagged cross-cutting rhythms, dizzying counterpoint, blasts of tidily contained noise. It’s probably his most abstract and dissonant outing since his days with John Zorn’s Naked City. But Frisell can just as easily use those techniques to create something sweet and accessible—and with Beautiful Dreamers, his terrific trio with drummer Rudy Royston and violinist Eyvind Kang, that’s exactly what he does. On the group’s self-titled 2010 debut
for Savoy Jazz, the music is often clear and direct: while Royston supplies propulsive timekeeping, Frisell and Kang play hot potato with the soloist’s spot, leaving the other musician to trace out each song’s harmonic and melodic outlines. The repertoire reflects Frisell’s investments in jazz and Americana, with pop standards fitting comfortably among originals that alternate between atmospheric and rock flavored—what tension there is the trio creates through subtraction, either by removing bits and pieces of a melody or by starting a familiar tune in an elliptical form that slowly gets filled in. What makes this trio special isn’t its selection of material, though, but rather its rapport and ability to switch roles and moods on the fly, more than the actual tunes. —Peter Margasak