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Bill Frisell: When You Wish Upon a Star

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Had it been released a few months ago, this CD would have made a perfect holiday gift for the Frisell fan who can’t get enough TMC. Yet another example of the prolific guitarist’s imagination and wanderlust, When You Wish Upon a Star is proof that going Hollywood (and, actually, well beyond) isn’t necessarily a bad thing-at least not for a musician with an idiosyncratic flair for interpretation and a wide-angle view of film and TV themes worth revisiting.

Whether or not you agree with the tune choices will largely depend on your taste and, perhaps to some degree, your age. Not that Frisell focuses on specific periods or moods for very long. On the contrary, he’s constantly changing reels to sometimes jarring or whimsical effect, as the album’s opening (“To Kill a Mockingbird”) and closing (yes, “Happy Trails”) themes attest. In between these selections, the most striking performances not only offer fresh thematic perspectives but also reveal the sensibilities Frisell shares with certain composers.

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