Bill Frisell History, Mystery

Albums that are composed of music initially used for soundtracks or other visual forms are tricky ventures at best. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, such as when the music has an ornery conceptual virtuosity that transcends form: Ennio Morricone’s Once Upon A Time In the West or Rza’s Ghost Dog (the Japanese one with the real soundtrack) being two that spring to mind. Bill Frisell’s latest double CD effort maintains the standards of impeccable musicianship that has won him the accolades he richly deserves, but rarely leaves the comfortable blandness of American nostalgia. Frisell fans will love this in the same way that Eagles fans love the Eagles and James Taylor fans love James Taylor but after two CDs, it eventually leaves one wondering what the visuals were like. (Nonesuch)