Leading jazz guitarist Bill Frisell has announced his latest album Valentine, arriving this summer via Blue Note.
It’s the debut recording of his trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston, after years of playing together.
“This album is all about Rudy and Thomas and the musical relationship I have with them,” Frisell said. “We’ve played a lot for a number of years, but there was no evidence of it, so I really wanted to have a document of it, if only to show that it’s real and not this magical thing that I’ve imagined in my fantasies.”
Produced by longtime collaborator Lee Townsend and recorded by Tucker Martine at Flora Recording in Portland, Ore., the 13-track album mixes originals, jazz standards, traditional songs and covers.
The album will be released Aug. 14. In the meantime, the trio has shared the album’s closing track We Shall Overcome, the Civil Rights anthem with a message that Frisell holds dear.
“I’ve been playing the song for years, and I’m going to keep playing it till there is no need anymore,” said Frisell. “I can’t help but hope that day will come.”
Author David Hajdu writes in the album’s liner notes that Valentine “is not only a gem-cut specimen of the trio art, but a vivid demonstration of the capacity of masters like Frisell, in the manner of Ellington, to push themselves, their collaborators, and their audiences to unexpected heights through the ever-restless force of their creativity.”
It hasn’t been long since we last heard from Frisell. His last album was Harmony in the fall of 2019, marking his Blue Note debut. Also produced by Lee Townsend, that album was recorded as a quartet with bassist Luke Bergman, cellist Hank Roberts and vocalist Petra Haden.
In 2004, the guitarist’s album Unspeakable won a Grammy Award for best contemporary jazz album.
Here’s the full track listing for Valentine:
Baba Drame (Boubacar Traore)
Hour Glass (Bill Frisell)
Winter Always Turns to Spring (Frisell)
Keep Your Eyes Open (Frisell)
A Flower is a Lovesome Thing (Billy Strayhorn)
Wagon Wheels (Billy Hill/Peter DeRose)
Aunt Mary (Frisell)
What the World Needs Now is Love (Burt Bacharach/Hal David)