Guitar master Bill Frisell's global approach includes progressive-jazz, jazz-rock, chamber-jazz, and Americana as the list goes on. But what separates him from others is his signature voice. Otherwise, a biopic account of his rise to prominence exceeds the boundaries of this article. However, Frisell's visionary propensities hit another high mark on this album, based on John Lennon's discography.
Over the years, the jury has been out on jazz-based Beatles covers, perhaps due to the pop-jazz oil and water syndrome. But Frisell's down-home conglomeration of blues, rock, and jazz improvisation amid slight inferences to the free-zone in select spots, offer a cunning reformation of Lennon's heralded works. It's a vastly entertaining program that ripens with age as they say. And one of many standouts is the band's rendition of "Come Together," which is the opener on The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. Here, drummer Kenny Wollesen mimics Ringo Starr's rolling patterns, but the quintet morphs the piece into punchy rock groove, gruffly tinted with Frisell's distortion techniques and Jenny Scheinman's angular violin lines. With his customary tweaks, twirling notes and sinewy chord voicings, the leader along with slide guitarist Greg Leisz coalesce for a country-blues vibe amid a touch of grunge and the soloists gritty harmonization's of the primary theme. At times they reshape the melody, abetted by Leisz' upper-register notes, dappled with a sense of yearning. Yet for the finale, the band executes a slow fadeout into rock-and-roll abyss. In sum, "All We Are Saying..." is a five-star masterpiece, graced by Lennon's aura.