Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bill Frisell: The Intercontinentals [Nonesuch, 2003]
Jazz sophisticates who long ago followed Frisell into the fog won't gainsay his groove at this late date. Swing isn't on his product list, and as for swing's West African or Brazilian equivalents, isn't that what now-Parisian percussionist Sidiki Camara and now-New York guitarist Vinicius Cantuária are on board for? Hardly. They're there for color. Frisell cares about color the way Sigur Rós cares about color, and if his hues are somewhat brighter, he doesn't have Iceland for an excuse. Every once in a while a drone or pattern emerges, reminding me of what I treasure most in "world music"--articulated rhythm. Then he gets some tech genie or steel player to throw on another synth substitute and it's back to the miasma. B-