Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bill Frisell - In Line (1982)

There's a lot of Frisell out there to listen to from the last 33+ years of his solo career as a master jazz axeman - most of which is still on my to-do list, having so far only approached his catalogue in my capacity as an ECM nut.  After loving his work as a sideman to Eberhard Weber and Jan Garbarek in the late 70s/early 80s, I grabbed his three ECM solo albums, of which this one remains my favourite.

There's no Weber here, but another ECM bass regular, Arild Andersen, provides a subtle underpinning to about half the album.  Frisell is mostly muted and understated too on his first time out as leader, nimbly picking out a bunch of gorgeous melodies.  On 'The Beach', he expands his palate with layers of delayed guitar sound to create a stunning soundscape that marks the album's high point for me.

As with a handful of other ECM albums, the CD reissue replaced the original artwork with something much more nondescript and mid-80s, so I've plumped for the original LP cover for this post of In Line.  So I actually stand corrected in saying there's no Weber here - as with about a dozen other ECM releases, the original cover was by Maja Weber, late wife of the great bassman.

In Line


  1. My favorite Frisell solo album. Why? Because its stripped to guitar and bass nothing else and its very melodic and accessible(to my taste at least). A classic of the 80s ECM catalog! Bills contributions to other musicians I tend to like better like when he's a sideman in so having to really restrain and fine tune his parts! Very underrated jazz musician too!

  2. GREAT album! Nice pick Alan! I have the vinyl with the original artwork that you used! Excellent post and to anyone who hasn't heard this - download it now! It's fantastic!

  3. As a former ECM nut I concur with your trajectory to this one (which I've yet to hear). The substituted cover art of the reissue sums up what cooled my love for the label. Thanks for the share and the great blog.