Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

773

Bill Frisell: Pursuing Beauty

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Frisell There are people in this world who are blessed with the gift of constant searching for the beautiful in a world that has gone terribly wrong somewhere. Bill Frisell is someone that is evidently on a quest such as that one. Clearly one of the most original and most proficient guitarists now playing, he is acknowledged as one of the most influential and exciting jazz guitarists to emerge in the latter half of the 20th century. Noted for his unparalleled sensibilities, over the years Frisell has pursued emotional honesty over technical perfection to achieve a specific sound that is both powerful and beautiful. As a solo artist, he has explored various music venues and taken his listeners to a lot of places. He has explored the whole rich panorama of music, like jazz, blues, funk, chamber music, avant, noise, and ambient. On top of that, he has done some remarkable cross-cultural experiments with Brazilian and African musicians, all in service of a unique personal vision. Simply put, you never know what to expect from Frisell.

Floratone is the latest project by a group featuring Frisell, Matt Chamberlain, and producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine. Though it might seem that this is his solo work, actually it's a collaborative project. Still, Floratone showcases an amazing display of Frisell's subtlety and imaginative compositional and improvisational abilities. The choice of material grasps an incredibly eclectic range of musical styles. Folk, jazz, country, blues, psychedelia, and dub are wound together into an inseparable knot. The brilliance of this recording not only comes from their instrumental talents, but also from the remarkable compositions and arrangements they make, with an inexhaustible supply of interesting thematic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas. "Floratone came about simply by Matt and myself wanting to get together and make music in the studio and to have Lee and Tucker help us. We are all friends. We didn't have a record deal, a deadline, or any reason other than to have fun and see what might happen."

Bill Frisell This record is an improvised affair which started from series of studio jams. Then the tapes were given to Townsend and Martine who took it from there and rearranged the material by editing and processing. Though the producers are credited as performers, actually the studio is their instrument with so much attention given to space and sound. "We started with improvisations, just Matt and myself. Then Lee and Tucker edited these into shorter, more manageable forms. Then we added Viktor Krauss. Then I wrote some melodies for Ron Miles [cornet] and Eyvind Kang [violin] to play. After that, we pieced it together bit by bit."

There's an old saying that one is only as good as the people with whom one collaborates. Judging by the list of people he worked with, Frisell is quite good indeed. His adaptability has made him a popular sideman, and his discography is full of wonderful music done in joint effort with people like Paul Motian, John Zorn, Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, David Sylvian (the Sylvian/Sakamoto track "Heartbeat" features one of the best solos ever played by Frisell),Kenny Wheeler, Arto Lindsay, Don Byron, Vernon Reid, Petra Haden, Ry Cooder, Dave Douglas, Arild Andersen, Billy Hart, Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano, Lyle Mays, and Elvis Costello (to name but a few).

But in each collaborative project or guest appearance, his sound or voice is always unmistakably recognizable. What I like about certain musicians is their ability to add their magic regardless of the context and at the same time to keep their identity and credibility intact and strong. Therefore whether playing other people's music or his own, his sound is unique and vibrant with rich and often unexpected harmonics. "Collaboration is such an important part of music. Everything I've learned comes from it. I'm so lucky to have had the chance to work with so many amazing people."

Bill Frisell The distance traveled from his first solo record, In Line, until today is enormous, and Frisell has shown such a broad scope in his playing. But some of his trademark features were present then. The playing is kept deceptively simple, with so much attention given to melody and sound. His thoughtful improvisations are creating contemplative and impressionistic soundscapes, and the result is very beautiful music. And the unique sound leaves a lasting impression on your heart. "I hope I've made some progress since In Line. In some ways, so much of what I do now was already there then. The basic idea was there. I hope I've gotten stronger. I think I have more confidence now. I'm not quite as afraid to do what I want."

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Date Detail Price
Dec14Fri
20:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: 80th Birthday...
Rose Theater
New York, NY
Dec15Sat
20:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: 80th Birthday...
Rose Theater
New York, NY
Dec16Sun
19:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels And Lucinda...
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
Dec20Thu
20:00
Bill Frisell: A Benefit For Roulette
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$45
Dec20Thu
20:00
Bill Frisell Solo
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$45
Jan22Tue
20:00
Bill Frisell “when You Wish Upon A...
Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA
$20-45
Feb17Sun
19:00
Bill Frisell
Ardmore Music Hall
Ardmore, PA
$28

Related Articles

Read The Complete Jan Akkerman: Focusing on a Life's Work Profiles
The Complete Jan Akkerman: Focusing on a Life's Work
by John Kelman
Published: November 24, 2018
Read Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool Profiles
Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool
by Arthur R George
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland Profiles
Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland
by Charles Suhor
Published: September 2, 2018
Read Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018 Profiles
Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Remembering Tomasz Stanko Profiles
Remembering Tomasz Stanko
by AAJ Staff
Published: July 29, 2018
Read SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In Profiles
SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In
by Arthur R George
Published: July 19, 2018