Bill Frisell has long been recognized as possessing one of the most unique voices in jazz guitar.
On Where in the World?, he is joined by his frequent compatriots Joey Baron and Kermit Driscoll, as well as cellist Hank Roberts, for ten compositions that catch Frisell right on the cusp of his earlier days and his later, more melody-driven, work.
As expected, the supporting cast is excellent, with Joey Baron especially making notable contributions.
His solo on "Child at Heart" is a perfect analog to the spirit of Frisell's music, pairing the completely expected with the completely unexpected.
A pervading sense of melancholy and unrest runs through Where in the World?, creating tension even when the music is at its quietest.
Some of this music is downright spooky.
This tendency to pair beautiful melodies with dense, introspective harmony works better on Where in the World? than anywhere else in Frisell's extremely strong catalog.
As for the guitarist's own playing, it is as beautiful as always.
He floats ethereal melodies seemingly with the same ease (and, more importantly, from the same coherent musical mindset) as he lets loose feedback-drenched wails.
One of the high points of '90s jazz guitar, Where in the World? is essential for fans of modern jazz.