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The Compass, Log and Lead by Fred Frith Carla Kihlstedt Stevie Wishart

"The Compass, Log and Lead" is a beautiful accomplishment of three virtuoso improvisers. This album is impressive because of the quality of the music and the eclecticism of the musicians.

British born Fred Frith is an improviser guitarist who shines because of his rock-background, his experiences with world music and for his originality. His creativity is so prolific that his print is left in dance and film as well as theater. Frith is famous in the New York scene for his variety of projects with different musicians like John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, Bob Ostertag, Bill Laswell, Fred Maher, and Lars Hollmer.

In this release, Frith plays so free that listeners will see and hear right off the bat his extended exploration of music and jazz. His ability to mix up folk musics and free jazz make him an exceptional open-minded musician.

Stevie Wishart is another bright British musician. Wishart is founder director of Sinfonye and her expertise is deep into medieval bowed instruments. Explorations of medieval and experimental music result in her marvelous input on "The Compass, Log and Lead." As an adventurer of different cultures and music, Wishart creates chords and notes that reaches perfection ("Time Comes Presto," "Look at Sky Go").

Carla Kihlstedt has a rigorous classical background that did not stop her to dive into the waters of improvisation, pushing the knowledge and discovering that most difficult instrument, the violin. Kihlstedt has performed as soloist with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, and the Bach Ensemble of Baltimore. On top of this, Kihlstedt holds a Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Prize, awarded in England. She has also played in concert with Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn. Carla Kihlstedt's high skills of violin improvisation allow her to give the special touch to this release.

This is definitely a "first class" trio. The music is enjoyable and full of perfect collisions of improvisation and a mastery of technique. An exceptional group that will intrigue listeners of "Time Comes Presto" with a crying violin; the nyckelharpa will push at the highest level on "Abstract Expressionism" as well as the very conversational and subliminal-like guitar of "Times Comes Presto" and "Times Go Largo."

The Compass, Log and Lead is a wonderful musical work melding three musicians coming from different horizons to deliver us a hyper-emotional creation to listen to with all ears and heart!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Fred Frith Carla Kihlstedt Stevie Wishart
  • CD Title: The Compass, Log and Lead
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Intakt Records
  • Tracks: Times Comes Presto, A Beautiful Thing To Forget/ får ej tåckas, Look at Sky Go, Dog-Eared, I am Buffalo Bill Today, Initially This, Postcard From The Back, I am Map, Abstract Expressionism, Dream As a Means, Aller Retour, Times Go Largo
  • Musicians: Fred Frith (acoustic guitar, lowry organ, violin), Stevie Wishart (hurdy-gurdy, electronics, violin), Carla Kihlstedt (violin, nyckelharpa)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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