Big Sur

Big Sur

Bill Frisell is one of modern music's most identifiable electric guitarists. His atmospheric sound has graced works by Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, John Zorn, Rickie Lee Jones, and Vic Chesnutt, and he's established his own extensive solo career. For Big Sur, he collects 19 pieces from a work commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival; they feature him alongside Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola, Hank Roberts on cello, and Rudy Royston on drums. The album emphasizes the calm, pastoral nature of the coastal lands, along with a subtle sense of humor. "We All Love Neil Young" features Kang as Young's voice and Frisell as his guitar. "Going to California" adds the sense of drama one feels upon approaching Big Sur's intimidating beauty. Royston's drums take the lead, as they do on much of the record, enforcing the musical boundaries before the players try to wander off. "The Big One" quotes surf rock, while "Hawks" touches on Celtic folk. Taken all together, it's a wondrous trip and an instrumental album that's both beautiful and easily accessible.

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