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Bill Frisell/Elvis Costello: The Sweetest Punch, Songs of Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach

Too often, the fragile crossover zone where jazz and pop interact is fraught with worry and stigma. What will the peers and music industry honchos think? Moreover, will cash registers ring? But there’s a big world of promise, mostly untapped, where jazz intellect and improvisatory zeal can benefit from the melodic clarity of pop, and this unique project succeeds in opening our ears to the possibilities.

So here we have Bill Frisell, the ever open-minded sensitive guitar hero (or anti-hero?), delivering painterly interpretations of material from the Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach duet project, Painted from Memory. And why not? It works small wonders, as Frisell works up soulful, horn chart-laced readings of the songs, with such comrades as drummer Brian Blades, Don Byron, Ron Miles, and Curtis Fowlkes.

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