Live Reviews


Bill Frisell: Helsinki, Finland, August 29, 2012

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Bill FrisellHelsinki FestivalHelsinki, FInlandAugust 29, 2012 It's hard to find a summer festival that is not critically dependent on the weather for that essential vibe. As such, August's Helsinki Festival stands as good a chance as any for success, with the main stage located a half-mile from the central station on a bank beside an inlet of the Baltic, where 600 people can sit in relative comfort under a 40 foot high, custom built steel and poly-propylene marquee. And when the weather does shine there's an outdoor bar and all those old faces to ...


Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison: Columbus, OH, March 31, 2012

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Bill Frisell TrioThe Great FloodThurber Theater, Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OHMarch 31, 2012Sometimes you can hear a song lyric for years, but it is not until it is sung just so that it hits home. Bill Frisell's Trio presented an original soundtrack to a film by director Bill Morrison about the great Mississippi flood of 1927 at The Ohio State University's Thurber Theater on Saturday, March 31, 2012. When the guitarist quoted Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's “Ol' Man River," the lyric “He don't say nothing / But he must know something / Cause ...


Bill Frisell At The Stone

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Bill FrisellThe StoneNew York CitySeptember 7, 2010 Bill Frisell has captured the imagination of music fans of many types, since his first records in the 1980s. He is the world's favorite alternative take on guitar. Yet, he may be, instead, the next step in guitar rather than another side of the very popular instrument. Arguably, very little music of originality has come forth since the beginning of the '80s, but Frisell is one beacon that shows that the recent decades have not been all dark. Along with, perhaps, Radiohead, some pastiche artists of various ...


Bill Frisell at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA

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Bill Frisell Iron Horse Northampton, Massachusetts July 13, 2009

When performing alone, a musician has to work really hard, since the sound produced cannot be interwoven within the sounds other band members create. The soloist is virtually right out there in the same space as the audience. The musician's vulnerability, in turn, is unmistakable. Combine all that with the personality transmitted in the music, occasionally through the words of the performer, and there could be no more honest picture of the musical artist.

At the Iron Horse on January 13 Bill Frisell ...


The Israel Festival, Jerusalem 2008 - Bill Frisell, Nils Wogram, Marcin Wasilewski, Anat Fort

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The Israel Festival International Jazz Festival Jerusalem, Israel June 15-17, 2008

This year's scheduling of the programs for the Israel Jazz Festival was promising. The grouping of the Bill Frisell Quartet, Nils Wogram's Root 70, Marcin Wasilewski Trio and Anat Fort Trio performances in three successive days enabled festival-goers to examine some common conventions about the differences between European Jazz and American Jazz, since all these outfits presented their own distinctive interpretations of the jazz legacy.

German trombone player Nils Wogram's quartet, Root 70, opened the festival. The quartet comprises two German musicians: Wogram, ...


Taking a Magical Mastery Tour with The Bill Frisell Trio in Northampton, Massachusetts

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Bill Frisell Trio Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, Massachusetts June 21, 2007

Flourishing in something produces ecstasy. No experience can equal the satisfaction of a temporally bound creative act for which no result can be predicted and which simply becomes increasingly surprising as it evolves. The conversation that a musician can have internally with an instrument as well as with bandmates strengthens the possibility for an outcome more positive than was ever anticipated. The Bill Frisell Trio, performing at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, pulled it all together on this first day ...


Imagine: The Bill Frisell Trio

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The Bill Frisell Trio The Barbican The London Jazz Festival London, England November 15, 2005

Every once in a while a performer can get away with what happened when Bill Frisell performed at the 2005 London Jazz Festival at the magnificent Barbican, but not often. Appearing with violinist Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Greg Leisz, he blew the rules away with a wave of his hand.Bill Frisell has produced a long line of illustrious works such as the sensually hypnotic “Unspeakable, a Grammy winner last year, to “This Land, “Have a Little ...


Bill Frisell's 858 Quartet at The Palms Playhouse

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Bill Frisell and the 858 Quartet The Palms Playhouse Sacramento, CA February 2, 2005

This was guitarist Bill Frisell's first appearance in the Sacramento area in years, and his first ever at the Palms, a venerable folk and blues house. It would be an injustice to describe the performance of this ensemble as an evening of jazz. This music certainly has elements we might associate with the idiom, but the overall impression has more to do with sound, rhythm and color than of conventional jazz forms. And how appropriate, given that most of the ...


Charlie Hunter and Bill Frisell In Cleveland

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A popular attraction among the younger crowds who follow such jam bands as Medeski, Martin & Wood and Soulive, guitarist Charlie Hunter has carved a niche for himself over the years with a dance-based approach to improvisation and an enviable degree of chops that allow him to play his own bass lines in tandem with his lead guitar licks on a custom 8-string axe. With Hunter teaming for the second time around with avant drum sensation Bobby Previte, the pair was on the road in support of their recent album Groundtruther. Added to this eclectic fusion of talent was turntable ...


Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, and Bill Frisell

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The Village Vanguard Z New York City August 24, 2001

The anticipation of seeing and hearing this extraordinary trio perform live bordered on overwhelming. With everyone's expectations high, the Vanguard sold out again for a fourth consecutive night (with still two more nights to go in this series). A pre-dominantly male, 20-something crowd shuffled their way into the historic and cozy room, strewn with classic jazz pics adorning all the walls.It was just a matter of seconds before the audience would find out who was going to get in the first note, or ...


Bill Frisell at The Knitting Factory

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Submitted on behalf of Bob Margolis

As part of the Knitting Factory's 1997 Jazz Festival, titled The Texaco New York Jazz festival, a long-time Knit fav was around to kick the festivities off with a well-attended bang.Bill Frisell, a highly unique guitarist and member of many legendary groups, including Paul Motian's “Units" was in performance this evening with both his quartet and by himself. The quartet featured a very unusual mixture of instruments, including Curtis Fowlkes on Trombone, Ron Miles on trumpet, Eyvind Kang on violin and Frisell on guitar. Starting from a very simple progression strummed on his ...


Bill Frisell Quartet

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Country music and jazz, musical cousins barely on speaking terms, both came of age in the 1920's. They have not really affected each other until lately, although their early histories have much in common. They emerged through back doors and depended heavily on irony and parody inherited through the blues. The phonograph record spread their popularity. They struggled for acceptance by legitimate musicians. While jazz continued to evolve musically country reached a musical dead end due to inbreeding and had to borrow from and fuse with other musics for a semblance of freshness. (A commercially viable formula derived in part ...

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