Bill Frisell and Julian Lage do Hank Williams

Wally

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Re: the first cut…
I usually enjoy whatever Bill Frisell does, but this one does not interest me at all other than as a technical exercise. It does not move me musically, and imho does not connect with me as ‘country’ music….and I have been hearing William’s music since I was a baby….I will be 71 in a month.
ommv…..
 

Wally

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After hearing the beginning of the Scofield cut, I realize that perhaps what I am missing from these two examples is the part of the song that
Williams wrote that makes it…and the rest of his music…what it is. That would be the lyrics.
 

Thin white duke

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If I had to say where my interest in pure American and country music came from it would be Bill Frisell 100%. He's been playing it a long time. He and Julian Lage together are a magical duo.

Man i was about to post the other video when they do Strange Meeting, what a beauty.....
 

bottlenecker

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Re: the first cut…
I usually enjoy whatever Bill Frisell does, but this one does not interest me at all other than as a technical exercise. It does not move me musically, and imho does not connect with me as ‘country’ music….and I have been hearing William’s music since I was a baby….I will be 71 in a month.
ommv…..

They've deconstructed it, and maybe you like your country fully assembled. Like you opened the box expecting furniture and it's an abstract sculpture. I think this bit only works because the song is so well known, and I really enjoyed it, but I don't think you're missing that much if it's not for you.
I really like country jazz, and this is like a mirror image of that, put together backwards. Maybe that's what I enjoy about it.
 

Wally

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regarding this versi9n by Frissell and Lage, there are so ‘atonal’ sections there that are beyond disquieting for my ears.

Here is a version this song that imho is about as ‘jazzy’ as I care to hear this particular song. It maintains that plaintive country feel with an Arrangement that is much more complex than the original, which was a very simple song musically. B.J. Thomas was a fine vocalist, imho.

 

Wally

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And here is the version from 1966…..there is a slow dance for ya! This is the way I hear the song unless I am listening to the original.

 

Edgar Allan Presley

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If I had to say where my interest in pure American and country music came from it would be Bill Frisell 100%. He's been playing it a long time. He and Julian Lage together are a magical duo.


This is brilliant. I love the way they play off each other. Bill Frisell has remarkable playfulness and ingenuity, and Julian Lage has the best right hand technique of any guitarist I know of. Lage's on-the-spot reharmonizations of the melody are a revelation.
 

tanplastic

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The halting quality of Frisell's playing has been a sore spot for me.
He doesn't 'groove', but rather picks his way thoughtfully through a song.
That does have a certain appeal to me, but the lack of swing remains a little off-putting.
Lage swings effortlessly always.
 

Jazzcaster21

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The halting quality of Frisell's playing has been a sore spot for me.
He doesn't 'groove', but rather picks his way thoughtfully through a song.
That does have a certain appeal to me, but the lack of swing remains a little off-putting.
Lage swings effortlessly always.
It took me a long time to like Frisell in settings other than as a sideman and I remember not really digging his record "Lookout for Hope" when I first heard it in my early 20s because it seemed too something (straight, country?, not what I thought jazz was "supposed to be") that I just didn't like. Back then, I was a hardcore bebopper, straight ahead jazz snob (John Scofield was (and still is) my number one influence)so, if it didn't swing, I didn't dig it. I have since changed my ways, obviously. I love just about everything Frisell does now and, Bill can swing and groove with the best of them.
 

Telecaster88

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It's a cliché, but jazz like this is a high wire act. The performers are up high, constantly balancing, losing equilibrium and refinding it, getting back on their feet, taking another step. The performance is a journey the audience takes along with the artist. Not for everybody, but I enjoyed the heck out of this.
 

Telecaster88

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It took me a long time to like Frisell in settings other than as a sideman and I remember not really digging his record "Lookout for Hope" when I first heard it in my early 20s because it seemed too something (straight, country?, not what I thought jazz was "supposed to be") that I just didn't like. Back then, I was a hardcore bebopper, straight ahead jazz snob (John Scofield was (and still is) my number one influence)so, if it didn't swing, I didn't dig it. I have since changed my ways, obviously. I love just about everything Frisell does now and, Bill can swing and groove with the best of them.

You can hear Frisell take the melody and rhythm apart until it's essentially unidentifiable, and then, maybe only for a brief moment or two, instantly lock back into it, and propel the song forward with a groovy pulse, before stepping back out on the edge. Incredible stuff.
 

Jazzcaster21

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After hearing the beginning of the Scofield cut, I realize that perhaps what I am missing from these two examples is the part of the song that
Williams wrote that makes it…and the rest of his music…what it is. That would be the lyrics.
It is hard to separate a popular song that you have heard so many times sung one way (with lyrics) from an instrumental version. That is when the strength of the melody and chords really shows through (or not): when you are just left with the tune.

The words, story and vocal delivery are a big part of country songs and if you take that out of the equation, just leave the melody and chords, then what is left? The answer, just about anything musically that you want. Of course, it won't work with any song but, a good melody can offer a lot of improvisational opportunites.

Remember, the old Tin Pan Alley jazz standards of the 30s and 40s, which were the pop songs of the day, that all jazz musicians play now, all had lyrics too but, if you haven't heard them sung a thousand times before just hearing the tune and the changes then it's not that big a deal.

As a more relevant example, I love the Beatles and whenever I hear one of their tunes done in a different manner to what I am accustomed to it can be kind of unsettling. However, I play those tunes myself instrumentally, in addition to jazz and old country songs whenever I play a gig because I love them and feel some sort of connection to them and it's usually the lyrics. Or maybe (in the case of a jazz standard, it's the version I heard a particular artist play that knocked me out) I think that is key to "selling" any version of any song that an artist chooses to perform or record: they have a deep love of whatever it is they are putting out there for the public.
There is a version of John Scofield doing a cover of a Cowboy Jack Clement Song, "Just a Girl I Used to Know", where he recites the lyrics first before playing the tune as an instrumental which is great and you can see how his playing reflects the sentiment of the lyrics (well at least I can).

Jazz musicians who are now playing country songs (or newer pop and rock songs) are not doing anything that they haven't been doing since the 40s, when bebop started. But, it is not to everyone's taste which I totally understand.
 

Jazzcaster21

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regarding this versi9n by Frissell and Lage, there are so ‘atonal’ sections there that are beyond disquieting for my ears.

Here is a version this song that imho is about as ‘jazzy’ as I care to hear this particular song. It maintains that plaintive country feel with an Arrangement that is much more complex than the original, which was a very simple song musically. B.J. Thomas was a fine vocalist, imho.


I liked the arrangement and band's accompaniment but I am not sure how I feel about Thomas' voice.
 

Tall-Fir

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Hank Williams is a country music god. Everybody here knows that. It is not surprising that such profound musicians would choose one of his melodies to play and improvise on. To me the result was a little odd as it took me a while to catch on to the name of the tune. That’s not to take anything away from the artists who obviously are highly skilled to play around melodies. With the opening words of “Hear the lonesome whippoorwill that sounds too blue to cry” absent it loses it’s punch as the wonderful country Classic that the song is. Nothing wrong with the artists choice, however, to give their interpretation. Country music was and still is about stories being told. Just give me that old time religion as that will suffice, thank you.
 




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