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Bill Frisell — Gone, Just Like a Train
(Nonesuch 79479-2, 1998, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01

Gone, Just Like a Train Cover art

Guitar, bass, and drum albums can highlight standard blues based endeavors, fusion-driven workouts, or some aural creature which defies easy categorization. Bill Frisell’s trio album on Nonesuch records benefits from a loose groove feel that permeates this soundtrack to a rambling night in a big city gone astray. Frisell himself is a master of an altogether different sort who can and does switch from tone to texture, teasing to torture in less than a drop of pin. Looking at the liner notes, bassist Victor Krauss is heavily known in bluegrass circles, while Jim Keltner is a luminary session man responsible for time keeping on many 70s classic songs. Put these three together in a room with fifteen pieces and out comes a great record of unique chemistry and friendly dialog. Frisell’s acoustic guitar playing was virtually unknown to me before this disc, but I’m converted after these sessions. Tracks #2 (“Verona”) and “Girl Asks Boy (Parts 1)” and “Racoon Cat” benefit from a folk tinged atmosphere and loose grooves that border between roots and Midwest Americana. When the mood is set the ballads are coaxed out very much like Pat Metheny at his romantic best. “Please to Meet You” benefits from a striding bass line and a proud Southern swing blues tradition. Probably the most inspired performance from the trio appears halfway through the disk with “Lookout for Hope” with its moody low end and Keltner’s coy downbeat snare shots. To reference Frisell’s on-going musical adventures, bookmark www.songtone.com. Gone, Just Like a Train is highly recommend with the bulk of Frisell’s catalog.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Frisell

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