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All We Are Saying... CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Savoy
  • ASIN: B005F9CORS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,005 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"All We Are Saying" is Bill Frisell's third album for Savoy in 13 months.
Since August of 2010, the guitarist has released "Beautiful Dreamers", "Sign of Life", and now this one. In addition, he collaborated on the duet recording "Lagrimas Mexicana"s with Brazilian guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria on Naive Jazz, released earlier this year.
All We Are Saying is a full-length offering of Frisell's interpretations of John Lennon's music.
Frisell's quintet includes violinist Jenny Scheinman, pedal steel and acoustic guitarist Greg Leisz, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummer Kenny Wollesen.
Almost none of these 16 tunes are radical reinterpretations of Lennon's songs; most stick close to the original melodies even at their most adventurous. While there are obvious attempts at rock due to the root material -- "Revolution" and "Come Together" most notably -- this isn't a 'rock' album per se, nor is it a noodling jazz record. It's much more slippery than either.
The opening "Across the Universe", with its twinning of Frisell's electric guitar and Leisz's pedal steel as Scheinman's violin picks up the lyric melody and extrapolates its harmonic aspects, is indicative of the recording's M.O., offering a close examination of Lennon 'the composer'. The interplay between the three principals is remarkable, such as on the intro to "Nowhere Man," where Scheinman's ostinato tenses up in advance of the changes, and Leisz grounds her fluidly while Frisell pulls his lower strings to wind up, allowing the track to begin then flow into more open areas without losing sight of the melody.
Sometimes it doesn't work. "Hold On" is such a ghostly sketch it's hardly there at all, and the insertion of a Bach motif in "In My Life" almost makes it a novelty tune.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not particularly a jazz fan but I am a fan of Bill, much of whose work doesn't seem like jazz to me, being a mix of American roots music incorporating elements of folk, country and blues. I was therefore very curious to see how his interpretations of these Lennon tunes would turn out and I've got to say that I'm not convinced that on the whole they do work - although I'm not exactly sure why.

The playing and production is immaculate, as you'd expect, but for me there isn't that rootsiness to keep everything grounded. The fact the these tunes are so well-known to baby-boomers like me means that some of the quieter more melodic pieces such as 'Julia' and 'Woman' just come out sounding like cheesy lift music - albeit very well-played lift music. And I'm afraid that the inclusion of lap steel and violin in Bill's combo only adds to this atmosphere of cheesiness. 'In my life' is one of my favourite Beatles' songs but while this instrumental version is OK it just doesn't have the poignancy that the lyrics in combination with the music bring. I did like the more muscular 'Revolution' and the loping version of 'Please please me' but I'd much prefer to see Bill returning to his more familiar American roots music.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Everyone covers Lennon/The Beatles, but not like this. This man is a genius of the guitar. The phrasing is his unique quality, he plays the notes and the spaces between them like no-one else. His more extreme/pure jazz is not to my taste but anything less demanding I love. Anyone who can make 'Goodnight Irene' (obviously not on this album) so beautiful is special.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
How does an album of Lennon/Beatles covers that doesn't stray very far from the source material manage to sound so rhapsodic? And even transcendent? Forgive me if I sound a bit carried away but I found this a really moving listening experience. Hang up your ears and give your other senses some headroom if this sounds like lift music. Or maybe have another listen to some of the original recordings of these songs if you think Lennon would never have allowed a novelty 'Bach motif' to pop up in In My Life. This music sounds imbued with love and wonder and the man himself would surely have approved in a big way.
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I normally avoid the Beatles like the plague but I was blown away by Bills recent concert, as broadcast on BBC Radio 3's "Jazz on Three". He played many songs from this collection in a trio format with Rudy Royston on Drums and Eyvind Kang on Viola. the interplay between the 3 musicians was absolutely stunning. the version of In My Life was particularly magical. so i naturally bought the current cd that the concert was promoting and i'm afraid to say i'm very dissappointed, The Studio record is way more conventional than the Live radio broadcast, especially the drumming.
Ollie Olugooden is correct that it is too mellow for its own good. I'm sorry to say it comes perilously close to Muzak in my opinion.
I can't be the only inspired by the Concert broadcast who feels let down by the CD.
If like me you're trying to recapture the thrill of that live broadcast then Bits of the Beautiful Dreamers CD come closest
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Format: Audio CD
(apologies to AMM)
"It had been an ordinary enough day in Walton, Liverpool" when not one, but three amazing albums arrived from Amazon - Mogwai's "Government Commissions", Steve Reich / Kronos Quartet WTC 9/11 and Mr Frisell's tribute to John Lennon.
Approaching such an iconic body of well known work must have been a daunting prospect, but Bungalow Bill (and sometime Rocky Raccoon) has made a record that makes you listen again to songs you thought you knew inside out. There is a freshness to the collective playing which is stunning and Bill excels himself in so many phrases
(guitar as bell on "Mother" stands out).
Very few records on first hearing have stopped me in my tracks from what I had been doing (last one was "Grace"),
but this is another. With a band photo that resembles the least likely-looking reservoir dogs you will ever see, the music simply says All You Need Is Love. This record has obviously been made with a lot of it.
Trust me - if you already know Bill's work and John speaks for himself, then just buy this album
Dig It
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