On a totally fascinating and apparently endless quest to map out the misty junctions where dozens of musical styles intertwine, innovative guitarist Bill Frisell seems to be constantly juggling projects and bands. For his latest visit he's recruited frequent collaborators Tony Scherr (bass) and Greg Leisz (virtually anything with strings), as well as Rudy Royston, a jazz drummer who's often played with Frisell pal and cornetist Ron Miles. Nothing specific like last fall's Disfarmer Project is on tap here. But Frisell does have a remarkable new, double-disc album just out: History, Mystery (Nonesuch), mostly recorded live with his octet, including a crucially anchoring chamber string trio. Like much of his work, it's a quietly dazzling pastiche of myriad genres, seamlessly fused into a visionary suite. Frisell wrote nearly all 30 tracks, which encompass country, bop, blues, rock, and soul—just to scratch the surface—but whose overall vibe suggests sophisticated parlor jazz and its antecedents drifting back to Louis Gottschalk. The components are much more modern, including astute covers of Lee Konitz's "Sub-Conscious Lee," Thelonious Monk's "Jackie-ing," Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Malian guitarist Boubacar Traore's "Baba Drame." But the entire suite has a poignant feel that seems to connect history in defiance of time.
Sat., June 21, 8 p.m., 2008