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Tuesday, 24 May 2011 07:08

Charting the Music: Bill Frisell, 'Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet'

Charting the Music: Bill Frisell, 'Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet' billfrisell.com / Michael Wilson
Written by Joshua Edwards
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Since the latest release from Bill Frisell, Sign of Life, Music for 858 Quartet, dropped on the Savoy Label Group it has been stirring up the jazz pot with a progressive folk-influenced sound.

Using four main instruments -- guitar, violin, viola and cello -- the 858 Quartet is able to create complex sound structures. The absence of human voice seems to extend the subtleties of this work.

Impressively, all the compositions are credited to Frisell. After listening through the album I see how significant an achievement this is. All arrangements are given the group treatment, done by musicians Jenny Scheinman, Eyvind Kang, Hank Roberts and of course Bill Frisell himself.

Call and response between harmonic guitar notes and tastefully dissonant strings are prominent throughout the album. There is a "together" vibe inherent in the music. I can easily picture the quartet huddled near each other, feeding off one another's energy, honing their craft. The simplest art forms of folk tradition are multiplied, expanded upon and perfected by the group. Bill Frisell is known for his unique take on the world of jazz; Sign of Life spins that world in a new direction.

Written by Joshua Edwards, Music Department

On the KDHX Charts: #1 Jazz for May 17, 2011.

This album can be heard on: Mystery Train, the Smoking Lounge and All Soul, No Borders.

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