A gentle giant of guitar enlists Petra Haden and others to raise the standard for standards.

Bill Frisell

Harmony

When I first heard Harmony, I’d hit a rough patch and my normal diet of grooving music wasn’t cutting it. From the opening strains of the first track, “Everywhere,” I felt as if I’d stepped through the looking glass into an alternative sonic universe, one both melancholic and divine. Ah—just what I needed.

At the center of this strange brew is Petra Haden, whose beautiful, sometimes ethereal voice casts a spell across the entire album, which consists of Frisell originals, standards, and folk songs. Whether it’s Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” or “On the Street Where You Live” by Lerner and Loewe, the quartet—which includes cellist Hank Roberts and guitarist Luke Bergman, both of whom also sing—puts a fresh twist on jazz-leaning vocal ensembles. And were he still alive, I can imagine Pete Seeger wiping away a tear after hearing his “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” rendered so poignantly. Throughout Harmony, Frisell’s guitar rings like a bell, and his rich voicings recall jazz piano genius Bill Evans. Moody sounds for tumultuous times. —Andy Ellis

Must-hear tracks: “God’s Wing’d Horse,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”



Photo by cottonbro

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Demonstrate a variety of drone guitar techniques and approaches.
  • Examine drone points of reference from an array of genres.
  • Learn how to use standard, drop D, and uncommon alternate tunings in drone contexts.

Playing a melody or solo with a “drone” means playing over just one note or, in some instances, one chord. Besides playing without any harmonic accompaniment, it is about as simple a concept as one can image, which also means the possibilities are endless. We’ll look at ways to use drones in a variety of contexts, from ancient to contemporary, blues to metal, traditional to experimental.

Read MoreShow less

See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

Read MoreShow less
x