Hank Roberts: Everything Is Alive

Album review
Hank Roberts: Everything Is Alive

Hank Roberts

Everything Is Alive

Label: Winter & Winter
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

The cellist-composer’s eighth album as a leader reunites him with guitar renegade and longtime collaborator Bill Frisell. They’re joined by bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Recorded live-to-two-track, this cornucopia of sound displays both Roberts’ instrumental virtuosity and his creativity as a songwriter. The aggressive opener “Crew Cut” is fueled by Wollesen’s muscular accents on the kit and Frisell’s vibrato- laden grunge chords as Roberts injects touches of nasty distortion-laced cello. Laid back and lonesome, “Cayuga” opens with Appalachian-inspired solo cello before the band takes up the heartlandish melody. An infectious groover, “Easy’s Pocket” is paced by Harris’ buoyant bass and Wollesen’s minimalist time-keeping while Frisell chimes in with lilting single- note lines to shadow Roberts’ genial vocals and pizzicato work. “Treats with a Blind Dog” is Monkish, with Frisell and Roberts playing odd, angular unisons set off by Wollesen’s comedic woodblocks. Frisell and Roberts find a chamber- like delicacy on “Necklace,” aided by Wollesen’s bowed-cymbal overtones, and execute intricate unisons on the undulating, Middle Eastern-flavored “Sapphire Blue.” For a change-up, the funky “JB” has Wollesen playing Clyde Stubblefield to Frisell’s Jimmy Nolen to Harris’ Bootsy Collins as Roberts churns over the groove. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Hank Roberts
  • CD

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