JACK DEJONETTE AND BILL FRISELL

The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers

2007-02-05

Two avant-jazz giants together at the top of their game. Drummer eJohnette first came to prominence playing with Mile Davis on the legendary fusion record Bitches Brew and has gone on to a great career in both straight ahead and experimental jazz, most notably n a trio with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock. Guitar great Frisell has made his name over the past two decades fusing together every possible genre that features a string instrument; jazz, folk, bluegrass, psychedelic, classical and everything in between. Together they deliver an album of paradox, sparse but complex, bizarre but still accessible. Sometimes sounding haunting, trippy and ethereal ike on “Otherworldy Dervishes” and the stunning title track. Other times jarring and playful as in “Cat and Mouse” and “One-Tooth Shuffle” both featuring Frisell on a banjo like none you’ve heard before. The worldbeat influenced grooves of “Garden of Chew Man Chew” and “Ode to South Africa” are also highlights. Upon first listen some of these tunes may sound scattered or disjointed, but give them a chance. The guitar solos are precise and the melodies often exquisite if you allow your ears to keep up, and the drumming keeps a consistent groove going without the benefit of a bass player, no easy task. DeJohnette also tries his hand at piano on “Storm Clouds and Mist” and a lovely version of the Coltrane ballad “After the Rain.” Sound engineer Ben Surman (son of sax-man John Surman) fills out the sound with dashes of percussion and effects that give the album a slickly produced feel, surprising for a recording with only two musicians. All in all this is authentic, challenging modern jazz. Don’t be scared to challenge your listeners, they can handle it! - Calin

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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