CD The Sweetest Punch: The Songs of Costello and Bacharach (CD 989805),
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The Sweetest Punch: The Songs of Costello and Bacharach
Elvis Costello/Bill Frisell
1. Sweetest Punch, The
3. Such Unlikely Lovers
4. This House Is Empty Now
5. Painted from Memory - (featuring Cassandra Wilson)
6. What's Her Name Today?
7. In the Darkest Place
8. Vamp Dolice
9. My Thief
10. I Still Have That Other Girl - (featuring Cassandra Wilson)
11. Painted from Memory (Reprise) - (reprise)
12. Long Division, The
13. Tears at the Birthday Party
14. I Still Have That Other Girl (Reprise) - (reprise)
15. God Give Me Strength
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 559865
Joe Ferla; Judy Clapp
/Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach.
Personnel: Bill Frisell (acoustic & electric guitars); Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson (vocals); Billy Drewes (alto saxophone); Ron Miles (trumpet); Curtis Fowlkes (trombone); Don Byron (clarinet, bass clarinet); Viktor Krauss (bass); Brian Blade (drums, percussion).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York.
Personnel: Elvis Costello (vocals); Cassandra Wilson (vocals); Bill Frisell (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Don Byron (clarinet, bass clarinet); Billy Drewes (alto saxophone); Ron Miles (trumpet); Curtis Fowlkes (trombone); Brian Blade (drums, percussion).
Arranger: Bill Frisell.
When Elvis Costello, poet laureate of the post-punk generation, joined forces with '60s pop king Burt Bacharach for an album of new material, an immediate air of artistic importance was established. So much so that as soon as the songs were written, even before they were recorded, guitarist Bill Frisell began working on jazzy instrumental arrangements of them for a separate album.
Here Frisell is joined by jazz greats like Don Byron, Brian Blade, and Ron Miles, but they don't use the carefully crafted compositions as springboards for improvisation. To their credit, they avoid the natural temptation to approach these tunes like jazz standards. THE SWEETEST PUNCH is more of a classy instrumental pop album than anything else. Costello even makes a couple of vocal cameos, one in an effective duet with Cassandra Wilson on "I Still Have That Other Girl." Frisell and company do the songs proud, the sophisticated arrangements complementing Bacharach's deceptively complex (but immediately accessible) harmonic sensibilities.
Rolling Stone (9/30/99, p.87) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...[revives] the master's dynamic orchestrations and elegant drifts and still [moves] forward. Eclectic guitarist Bill Frisell offers a debonair solution on this set of arrangements..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/15/99, p.83) - "...Frisell turns an intriguing concept into a lovely and mostly instrumental project....[His] attitude toward idiom is slippery and generous." - Rating: B+
CMJ (11/1/99, p.30) - "...Bill Frisell set out to record a full band interpretation of [Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello's] PAINTED FROM MEMORY using a cast of stars....Frisell's distinctly different versions bear the leader's stamp both as a player and as an arranger."
JazzTimes (12/99, pp.147-8) - "...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....This is brainy music...with beauty in mind, which makes the like-minded closet romantic Frisell a perfect match."
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