THURSDAY

“Is this the Muzak version of that Elvis Costello record?” my girl asked of The Sweetest Punch, Bill Frisell’s instrumental arrangement of Costello and Burt Bacharach’s recent Painted From Memory. “Er, yeah, but it’s a deep and soulful Muzak,” I stammered in support of one of my favorite jazz musicians. All truthful joking aside, on Punch, guitarist Frisell does a fine Gabor Szabo-like take on pop music. (In the ’60s and ’70s, the oft-dismissed Szabo dropped jazz in favor of ultra-catchy Indian- and psychedelic-flavored arrangements of Beatles songs and other Top 40 tunes.) Frisell continues in an atmospheric pop vein on his other new release, Good Dog, Happy Man, a collection of originals (except for the traditional “Shenandoah”) that stretch a bit more than the ditties on Punch, mixing blues, country, and a little rock and improv to create a record that seems like a soundtrack in search of a film. (Fans looking for Frisell in a jazzier context should turn to Don Byron’s new CD, Romance With the Unseen.) Like on his 1998 release Gone, Just Like a Train, and 1997’s Nashville, on Happy Man, Frisell creates rich sonic palettes that evoke the America of a Jim Jarmusch movie: punch-drunk, mysterious, and beautiful. Frisell performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Barns of Wolf Trap, 1624 Trap Road, Vienna. $17. (703) 938-2404. (Christopher Porter)