Nonesuch's Blues Dream  Press Release
Bill Frisell's latest release, Blues Dream, is a colorful reinvention upon the musical ideas expressed in his recent Nonesuch releases Good Dog, Happy Man (1999) and Gone, Like a Train (1998). The new album marks the recorded debut of Frisell's Septet, featuring the members of his New Quartet: multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Emmylou Harris, Beck) on pedal steel, lap steel, National steel guitar, Scheerhorn resonator guitar, and mandolin, David Piltch on bass, and Kenny Wollesen on drums. The quartet is augmented by a horn section comprised of longtime Frisell sideman, saxophonist Billy Drewes, trumpeter Ron Miles, and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes.
The follow-up to the intimate solo guitar album
Ghost Town (2000), Blues Dream presents Frisell's music painted across a much larger canvas, tying together strands that have been running throughout several of his most recent offerings. "For the last few years I've been floating around between a lot of different projects, playing with different people that I didn't know and instruments I'd never played with," he says. "On Good Dog, Happy Man I met Greg Leisz-that was the first time I'd ever played with him. I started feeling like I was getting into having a more regular group--like a language and communication was beginning to gel with these people."Leisz brought his frequent collaborator Piltch (Holly Cole, Blood Sweat & Tears) ro Frisell's attention, while Wollesen is one of New York's most respected drummers and a member of Frisell's working Trio.
The music on
Blues Dream combines the homespun lyricism of Frisell's recent records with the expanded tonal pallette and harmonic sophistication afforded by a larger group, something he has explored as far back as his first Nonesuch recording, Before We were Born (1989). "Every few years or so, I have a little working group, and then I get the urge to expand it a little. The center of this record, for me, is the regular quartet I've been working with, and the horns are people that have been invovled in all sorts of things I've done." Far from serving as mere window dressing, the horn section is fully integrated into the band's arrangements. "The arranging is a way for me to illustrate and expand what's going on, like things that I do all the time with just my guitar. It's a way of clarifying what I'm doing."

The eighteen tunes on
Blues Dream, all new compositions commissioned by Minneapolis's Walker Arts Center, include evocative miniatures and musical portraits of friends and further cement Frisell's reputation as a composer who has created a genre unto himself. He combines elements of jazz, folk, bluegrass,country,blues, and more into a unique sound that the Los Angeles Weekly has dubbed " unmistakably American as that of Charles Ives or Duke Ellington..." Blues Dream is Bill Frisell's fourteenth recording for Nonesuch.
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