Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan - Small Town: childlike, playful, explorative

Small Town
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Artist: Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan
Genre: Jazz
Label: ECM

This live duo recording, made at the Village Vanguard in March last year, begins with a mysterious, attenuated version of Paul Motian's seminal composition It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago.

Guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan played on the great drummer's last recording in 2011, and Motian's spirit - childlike, playful, explorative - is a palpable presence throughout. Also present at the recording - this time literally - was saxophonist Lee Konitz, whose classic Subconscious Lee is played in spontaneous tribute.

But perhaps the main presence on Small Town is Frisell's hero, pioneering guitarist Maybelle Carter, and when this admirably restrained duo launch into Wildwood Flower, the Carter Family classic, the connections between jazz and country, between big city and small town, are made apparent.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director