March 6, 2012
By Nate Chinen

"Floratone is Mr. Frisell’s studio alliance with the drummer Matt Chamberlain and the producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine. The project, which hinges on a deft editorial restructuring of free-form guitar-and-drums interplay, released its self-titled debut on Blue Note in 2007. Everyone on board seems to have adjusted to the premise since then. “Floratone II” is a surer and more engaging album. Most of its tracks still feel like snapshots, but they’re vivid, color-saturated, with flashes of intrigue.

As on the first Floratone album, some parts have been outsourced to the trumpeter Ron Miles and the violist Eyvind Kang. Also joining that effort this time are the bassist Mike Elizondo and the multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, who happen to be record producers with a gift for artfully rendered pop.

It’s impossible to know who called the shots at various points on this album, but the 10-minute stretch that drifts from “Move” to “Do You Have It?” to “The Time, The Place” represents the best outcome for all involved — not only because Mr. Frisell sounds so resourceful and enlivened, but also because all the layers of surrounding detail make such intuitive sense. Mr. Frisell and Mr. Chamberlain may be the heart and soul of Floratone, but Mr. Townsend and Mr. Martine clearly make up a good chunk of its brain." -