30 Songs, 1 Hour 30 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Veteran guitarist Bill Frisell is known for his unique mix of jazz, folk, country, and other American musical strains, and on History, Mystery, he runs with that vision. The expansive album’s material draws from scores that Frisell wrote for three projects: two stage presentations by the visual artist Jim Woodring, Mysterio Simpatico and Probability Cloud; and the NPR radio show, Stories From the Heart of the Land. The bulk of the double-disc is made up of original compositions, but there are also choice covers of Boubacar Traore (“Baba Drame”), Sam Cooke (“A Change is Gonna Come”), Thelonious Monk (“Jackie-ing”), and Lee Konitz (“Sub-Conscious Lee”). It’s easy to imagine the versatile octet that appears on History, Mystery sounding equally at home in a concert hall or an intimate club. (Violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, and cellist Hank Roberts imbue the string arrangements with a strikingly distinctive sound.) Highlights abound — tenor saxophonist Greg Tardy letting loose on “Sub-Conscious Lee,” the ensemble work on the tango-tinged “Probability Cloud,” Frisell’s rootsy guitar on “Monroe Part 2”— and plenty more to explore on this fine album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Veteran guitarist Bill Frisell is known for his unique mix of jazz, folk, country, and other American musical strains, and on History, Mystery, he runs with that vision. The expansive album’s material draws from scores that Frisell wrote for three projects: two stage presentations by the visual artist Jim Woodring, Mysterio Simpatico and Probability Cloud; and the NPR radio show, Stories From the Heart of the Land. The bulk of the double-disc is made up of original compositions, but there are also choice covers of Boubacar Traore (“Baba Drame”), Sam Cooke (“A Change is Gonna Come”), Thelonious Monk (“Jackie-ing”), and Lee Konitz (“Sub-Conscious Lee”). It’s easy to imagine the versatile octet that appears on History, Mystery sounding equally at home in a concert hall or an intimate club. (Violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, and cellist Hank Roberts imbue the string arrangements with a strikingly distinctive sound.) Highlights abound — tenor saxophonist Greg Tardy letting loose on “Sub-Conscious Lee,” the ensemble work on the tango-tinged “Probability Cloud,” Frisell’s rootsy guitar on “Monroe Part 2”— and plenty more to explore on this fine album.

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