Bill Frisell | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Bill Frisell All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Feb. 19, 8 p.m. 2016

With its ethereal beauty, plangent elegance, and evocation of wide-open spaces, the music of guitarist Bill Frisell has frequently been described as cinematic, and in fact his work has turned up in various films over the years. He takes the tradition head-on with his gorgeous new album When You Wish Upon a Star (OKeh), which puts a spin on a variety of iconic themes from the silver screen (as well as a few from television, like “Happy Trails” and “Bonanza”). An excellent cast of trusted cohorts joins him, and together they largely surrender the improvisational element that usually marks their work with Frisell in favor of lovely arrangements designed to highlight melody and atmosphere. Featuring plaintive singing by Petra Haden and moody viola embellishments from Eyvind Kang, the theme from the Bond film You Only Live Twice gets a terrific reading, while Haden also coos wordlessly on scores by Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in the West), Nino Rota (The Godfather), and Bernard Herrmann (Psycho). The other real pleasure, aside from basking in the melodies and moods, is admiring the tight rapport of the band—which also includes drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Thomas Morgan—and how they manage to be both limber and disciplined. Most of the players on the recording appear here tonight, with Kenny Wollesen subbing for Royston.

Peter Margasak

Price: $35, $33 members

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