Tag Archives: bill frisell

Baby Plays Around (Elvis Costello)

I was doing some spring cleaning yesterday and found this lead sheet in a stack of old papers.  I transcribed it from Elvis Costello’s 1995 album Deep Dead Blue, recorded live with Bill Frisell when Costello curated the Meltdown festival in London.



Elvis has recorded this ballad a few times (and I’m listening to Brad Mehldau’s trio version of the song while writing this), but the duo version with Frisell is my favorite.

A random connection to my last post on Kenny Wheeler’s “Heyoke”: both Brad and Keith Jarrett seem to quote “Happy Days Are Here Again” in their impressionistic solo cadenzas to the respective tunes.


Like many people, I have a nighttime playlist i sometimes use to put me in that hypnogogic state.  At present it features a fair amount of Harold Budd, which makes me feel as if I’m diving through a sea of sound, hunting a pearl dream.  But tonight as I was drifting down something else caught my attention.  It wasn’t a pearl.  It was soft and fluid yet angular, each facet glinting a different hue.  As I turned it over in my mind, it started to grow, rising toward the surface, pulling me faster and faster until I snapped back to reality.  There I discovered:


Bill Frisell can do amazing things with small pieces of melody and noise.  This pen and paper skeleton of the tune doesn’t do justice to the mood Bill’s guitar sets.  This is from the album With Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, where he joins forces with those masters to make some amazing original music.