Skip directly to content
  • 435964

Track listing

Click tracks with speaker icon to listen

History, Mystery

news & reviews

  • about this album

    Grammy Award–winning guitarist, composer, and bandleader Bill Frisell’s History, Mystery was released on May 13, 2008. After back-to-back trio albums, this two-disc set finds Frisell performing and recording again with a large band. 

    History, Mystery features an octet of strings, horns, and rhythm section with some of Frisell’s closest collaborators—Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang, (viola), Hank Roberts (cello), Ron Miles (cornet), Greg Tardy (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Tony Scherr (bass), and Kenny Wollesen (drums). History, Mystery debuts many recent Frisell compositions as well as a few of his arrangements of favorite pieces by other songwriters, ranging in style from soul pioneer Sam Cooke to jazzmen Thelonious Monk and Lee Konitz. Producer Lee Townsend and engineer Shawn Pierce recorded the group in various combinations and contexts, live and in the studio.

    The original compositions on the album were born from and inspired by collaborations with visual artist and fellow Seattle resident Jim Woodring. One such collaboration, “Mysterio Simpatico,” was premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in June of 2002. The two later presented “Probability Cloud,” which appears in parts on the first disc, at Zankel Hall in New York in January of 2006. In a review of the performance, the New York Times wrote, “Both Mr. Frisell and Mr. Woodring make the familiar unfamiliar. In Mr. Frisell's compositions, cozy, archetypal Americana—country tunes, blues, waltzes—is slowed down, melted at the edges, eerily reharmonized or disassembled and contemplated part by part.”

    Townsend says, “History, Mystery explores a fuller palette of orchestral colors and timbres than for any project Bill has done before. Thematic elements recur throughout the album, furthering its symphonic sensibility.”

    In a career that spans more than 30 years and 100-plus recordings, Bill Frisell has been hailed by the Washington Post as “not only one of the most inventive jazz guitarists of his generation, but also one of the most versatile and prolific.” The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, “like Miles Davis and few others, his signature is built from pure sound and inflection; an anti-technique that is instantly identifiable.” Frisell’s recordings over the last decades span a wide range of musical influences, from Buster Keaton film scores (The High Sign / One Week, Go West), to Gary Larson cartoon soundtracks (Quartet), to original compositions for extended ensemble with horns (This Land, Blues Dream) and collaborations with the acclaimed rhythm section of bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner (Gone, Just Like a Train and Good Dog, Happy Man). Other releases include an album with Nashville musicians (Nashville), the solo album Ghost Town, an album of his arrangements of songs by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach (The Sweetest Punch), a trio album with jazz legends Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, and a collection of American traditional songs and original compositions inspired by them entitled The Willies. Unspeakable, produced by Hal Willner, won a Grammy in 2005. DownBeat has cited his catalog, including more than 20 recordings for Nonesuch, as “the best recorded output of the decade.”

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Bill Frisell, electric and acoustic guitars, loops
    Ron Miles, cornet
    Greg Tardy, tenor saxophone, clarinet
    Jenny Scheinman, violin
    Eyvind Kang, viola
    Hank Roberts, cello
    Tony Scherr, bass
    Kenny Wollesen, drums

    PRODUCTION CREDITS

    Produced by Lee Townsend
    Recording and Mixing Engineer: Shawn Pierce
    Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi
    Recorded at Avast 2, Seattle; Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC; Hopkins Center, Hanover, New Hampshire; and Berklee Performance Center, Boston
    Mixed at Avast 2, Seattle
    Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York
    Additional mixing and editing: Adam Muñoz
    Production assistance:  Adam Blomberg
    Assistant Engineers: Cathy Ferrante, Austin Sousa and Cameron Nicklaus
    Live Sound: Claudia Engelhart

    All compositions by Bill Frisell (Friz-Tone Music/BMI), except: “Baba Drame” by Boubacar Traore (Label Bleu/SACEM), “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (ABKCO Music Inc/BMI), “Jacky-ing” by Thelonious Monk (Thelonious Music Corp/BMI), “Sub-Conscious Lee” by Lee Konitz (Konitz Music/BMI)

    Design by Barbara deWilde
    Cover photographs by Russell Lee

on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (All day)
Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

435964

Number of Discs in Set: 
2discs
38
727
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (All day)
0
0
Artist Name: 
Bill Frisell
genre: 
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
UPC: 
075597994377BUN
Price: 
19.00
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
075597994353
Price: 
15.00
Label: 
MP3
Description: 

Grammy Award–winning guitarist, composer, and bandleader Bill Frisell’s History, Mystery was released on May 13, 2008. After back-to-back trio albums, this two-disc set finds Frisell performing and recording again with a large band. 

History, Mystery features an octet of strings, horns, and rhythm section with some of Frisell’s closest collaborators—Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang, (viola), Hank Roberts (cello), Ron Miles (cornet), Greg Tardy (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Tony Scherr (bass), and Kenny Wollesen (drums). History, Mystery debuts many recent Frisell compositions as well as a few of his arrangements of favorite pieces by other songwriters, ranging in style from soul pioneer Sam Cooke to jazzmen Thelonious Monk and Lee Konitz. Producer Lee Townsend and engineer Shawn Pierce recorded the group in various combinations and contexts, live and in the studio.

The original compositions on the album were born from and inspired by collaborations with visual artist and fellow Seattle resident Jim Woodring. One such collaboration, “Mysterio Simpatico,” was premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in June of 2002. The two later presented “Probability Cloud,” which appears in parts on the first disc, at Zankel Hall in New York in January of 2006. In a review of the performance, the New York Times wrote, “Both Mr. Frisell and Mr. Woodring make the familiar unfamiliar. In Mr. Frisell's compositions, cozy, archetypal Americana—country tunes, blues, waltzes—is slowed down, melted at the edges, eerily reharmonized or disassembled and contemplated part by part.”

Townsend says, “History, Mystery explores a fuller palette of orchestral colors and timbres than for any project Bill has done before. Thematic elements recur throughout the album, furthering its symphonic sensibility.”

In a career that spans more than 30 years and 100-plus recordings, Bill Frisell has been hailed by the Washington Post as “not only one of the most inventive jazz guitarists of his generation, but also one of the most versatile and prolific.” The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, “like Miles Davis and few others, his signature is built from pure sound and inflection; an anti-technique that is instantly identifiable.” Frisell’s recordings over the last decades span a wide range of musical influences, from Buster Keaton film scores (The High Sign / One Week, Go West), to Gary Larson cartoon soundtracks (Quartet), to original compositions for extended ensemble with horns (This Land, Blues Dream) and collaborations with the acclaimed rhythm section of bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner (Gone, Just Like a Train and Good Dog, Happy Man). Other releases include an album with Nashville musicians (Nashville), the solo album Ghost Town, an album of his arrangements of songs by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach (The Sweetest Punch), a trio album with jazz legends Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, and a collection of American traditional songs and original compositions inspired by them entitled The Willies. Unspeakable, produced by Hal Willner, won a Grammy in 2005. DownBeat has cited his catalog, including more than 20 recordings for Nonesuch, as “the best recorded output of the decade.”

DescriptionExcerpt: 

On this two-disc set, Frisell re-assembles material he composed for the theatre piece Mysterio Sympatico and NPR's Stories from the Heart of the Land. Performing with an octet, Frisell "plays electric guitar with serene assurance" (New York Times).

ProductionCredits: 

MUSICIANS
Bill Frisell, electric and acoustic guitars, loops
Ron Miles, cornet
Greg Tardy, tenor saxophone, clarinet
Jenny Scheinman, violin
Eyvind Kang, viola
Hank Roberts, cello
Tony Scherr, bass
Kenny Wollesen, drums

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Produced by Lee Townsend
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Shawn Pierce
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi
Recorded at Avast 2, Seattle; Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC; Hopkins Center, Hanover, New Hampshire; and Berklee Performance Center, Boston
Mixed at Avast 2, Seattle
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York
Additional mixing and editing: Adam Muñoz
Production assistance:  Adam Blomberg
Assistant Engineers: Cathy Ferrante, Austin Sousa and Cameron Nicklaus
Live Sound: Claudia Engelhart

All compositions by Bill Frisell (Friz-Tone Music/BMI), except: “Baba Drame” by Boubacar Traore (Label Bleu/SACEM), “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (ABKCO Music Inc/BMI), “Jacky-ing” by Thelonious Monk (Thelonious Music Corp/BMI), “Sub-Conscious Lee” by Lee Konitz (Konitz Music/BMI)

Design by Barbara deWilde
Cover photographs by Russell Lee