November 17, 2009

Silent All These Years

Occasionally, two kinds of genius collide in a way that makes so much sense you wonder how the world survived before without the combined force....

In the early 1990s, Seattle-based avant-jazz guitarist Bill Frisell took on the enviable task of composing scores for six silent films from the 1920s starring Buster Keaton.  Frisell and his trio began performing the soundtracks for a live audience with VHS copies of the films projected on stage.  Reissues of the films including the Frisell scores have been a point of discussion (and Frisell's ultimate desire for the work) off and on in the nearly fifteen years since the scores were created but plans never seemed to fully materialized.  Finally, last September three of the six pieces (Go West, The High Sign, One Week) were made available on DVD as "Films of Buster Keaton, Music by Bill Frisell" complete with the "new" scores performed by Frisell, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Joey Baron.  Nonesuch has also released the scores as a separate CD.  Any fan of film or music should own this set.

Bill Frisell

Buster Keaton (with a puppy in his pocket)

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