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Bill Frisell

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later, Bill studied music at the University of Northern Colorado before attending Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied with John Damian, Herb Pomeroy and Michael Gibbs. In 1978, Frisell moved for a year to Belgium where he concentrated on writing music. In this period, he toured with Michael Gibbs and first recorded with German bassist Eberhard Weber. Bill moved to the New York City area in 1979 and stayed until 1989. He now lives in Seattle.

"When I was 16, I was listening to a lot of surfing music, a lot of English rock. Then I saw Wes Montgomery and somehow that kind of turned me around. Later, Jim Hall made a big impression on me and I took some lessons with him. I suppose I play the kind of harmonic things Jim would play but with a sound that comes from Jimi Hendrix", Frisell told Wire. Bill also lists Paul Motian, Thelonious Monk, Aaron Copland, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and his teacher, Dale Bruning, as musical influences.

Bill recorded his first two albums as a leader on ECM, both produced by Manfred Eicher. Subdued and lyrical in nature, In Line, the first of the ECM recordings, employed both electric and acoustic guitars in a series of solos (including some overdubbing) and duets with bassist Arild Andersen. Second was Rambler, featuring Kenny Wheeler, Bob Stewart, Jerome Harris and Paul Motian. About Rambler, Fanfare said: "Bill Frisell has built a little masterpiece here - not just a showcase for his own instrumental creativity (of which there is much in evidence), but a clever and poetic whole."

Frisell's third album and last for ECM, Lookout For Hope, marked the recording debut of The Bill Frisell Band featuring Hank Roberts, Kermit Driscoll and Joey Baron. Produced by Lee Townsend, the album's diverse material - ranging from country swing to reggae, quasi-heavy metal and backbeat rock with a twist to Monk's "Hackensack" - nevertheless possessed the cohesive and unmistakable personality of a working band on to a sound of its own. High Fidelity called it "the fullest showing of Frisell's ability to date, especially his compositional range." The Chicago Tribune said, "Lookout For Hope offers one of the most hopeful signs that contemporary jazz can evolve with dignity, wit and charm."

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Play This!

Bill Frisell: Jimmy Carter Pts 1 & 2

Read "Bill Frisell: Jimmy Carter Pts 1 & 2" reviewed by Mike Jacobs


Bill Frisell's career arc has been extraordinary. From edgy, effect-laden, avant-jazz poster guitarist to sublime jazz interpreter of folk and Americana (and lots in between), it's been quite a ride for those who have paid attention. “Jimmy Carter Pts 1 & 2" from This Land (Nonesuch, 1994) occupies a special period in Frisell's stylistic journey where the early Frisellian attributes are still in plain sight while his seeming quest to embody the quintessential American musical amalgam is at its most ...

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Live Review

Bill Frisell Trio at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht

Read "Bill Frisell Trio at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski


Bill Frisell Trio TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, Netherlands November 14, 2023 Hearing Bill Frisell's Trio at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht was a mesmerizing experience on a rainy night, transcending the ordinary boundaries of musical performance. The trio, comprising Bill Frisell at the helm, drummer Rudy Royston to his left, and bassist Thomas Morgan to his right, delivered an uninterrupted 90-minute set that can only be described as a masterclass in empathy, interplay and all aspects of musicality. ...

Live Review

Bologna Jazz Festival 2023

Read "Bologna Jazz Festival 2023" reviewed by Libero Farnè


Bologna Jazz Festival 2023 Bologna, Forlì, Ferrara, Modena Varie sedi 3--27.11.2023 Ron Carter, Bill Frisell, Steve Coleman, The Bad Plus, Bill Carrothers, Hiromi, Samara Joy, Joey Calderazzo, Greg Osby, David Kikoski, Mark Guiliana, James Brandon Lewis, Sullivan Fortner, Kassa Overall, Mononeon, Chris Potter, John Scofield, Eric Alexander, Vincent Herring... Bisogna ammettere che la diciottesima edizione del Bologna Jazz Festival ha proposto una sfilata ben nutrita di protagonisti della scena statunitense, di ogni generazione e corrente. ...

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Album Review

Ben Wendel: All One

Read "All One" reviewed by Claudio Bonomi


Classe 1976, canadese di nascita, cresciuto a Los Angeles e attualmente residente a Brooklyn (New York), Ben Wendel è considerato un astro nascente del jazz contemporaneo da diversi anni. Sassofonista e compositore, oltre ad essere stato nel 2001 tra i fondatori dei Kneebody, si è costruito negli anni una solida reputazione di solista e leader firmando ben sette album che hanno suscitato l'attenzione di pubblico e critica. Questo All One non fa eccezione. È stato concepito in tempi ...

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In Pictures

Bill Frisell Four at Jazzontheroad 2023

Read "Bill Frisell Four at Jazzontheroad 2023" reviewed by Danilo Codazzi


A collection of photos from the Bill Frisell Four concert at Jazzontheroad fest 2023 in Brescia on July 12, 2023 featuring Bill Frisell, Gerald Clayton, Greg Tardy and Johnathan Blake. ...

2
Live Review

Bill Frisell Trio featuring Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston at World Cafe Live Music Hall

Read "Bill Frisell Trio featuring Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston at World Cafe Live Music Hall" reviewed by Cary Tenenbaum


Bill Frisell TrioWorld Cafe Live Music Hall jny: Philadelphia, PA July 29, 2023 The band took the stage at the intimate Music Hall at World Cafe Live on Walnut Street at about 8:15 for the 8 p.m. scheduled performance. Arranged in a tight semicircle with leader and guitarist Bill Frisell in the center, drummer Rudy Royston to his left and bassist Thomas Morgan to his right. Frisell introduced his two bandmates and they ...

12
Album Review

John Zorn: Gnosis: The Inner Light

Read "Gnosis: The Inner Light" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski


John Zorn's album Gnosis: The Inner Light serves as a poignant memorial and homage to the creative genius of one of modern music's most visionary composers, Ennio Morricone, who played a vital role in shaping Zorn's musical path. Decades ago, Zorn captivated audiences with The Big Gundown (Nonesuch, 1986), a groundbreaking release that boldly reimagined Morricone's compositions. Now, with Gnosis: The Inner Light, Zorn once again pays tribute to the maestro's enduring influence, delving into mystical realms and creating a ...

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Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later, Bill studied music at the ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later, Bill studied music at the ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later, Bill studied music at the ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later, Bill studied music at the ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later... Read more.

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Event

Int'l Society Of Jazz Arrangers & Composers' May 16-18, 2019 At The University Of Northern Colorado

Int'l Society Of Jazz Arrangers & Composers' May 16-18, 2019 At The University Of Northern Colorado

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

Almost 100 individuals from over 25 states and 10 countries will be sharing their work, philosophies, techniques, and insights over the 2.5 day conference. If you haven't already registered and made plans to attend...do so now! Discounted early-bird registration ends March 22nd. For more information (including hotel & travel) registration, and program ad opportunities, visit isjac.org. Featured Artist Lineup The fourth International Jazz Composers' Symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and ...

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Recording

Composer/Musician Wayne Horvitz Releases Two New Albums: The Snowghost Sessions (songlines) And Those Who Remain (national Sawdust Tracks) Featuring Guitarist Bill Frisell

Composer/Musician Wayne Horvitz Releases Two New Albums: The Snowghost Sessions (songlines) And Those Who Remain (national Sawdust Tracks) Featuring Guitarist Bill Frisell

Source: AMT Public Relations

Known for his multifaceted musical personality, composer/musician Wayne Horvitz displays his remarkably singular and distinguishable sound in two new recordings: his debut pianos/keys-bass-drums trio album The Snowghost Sessions (Songlines, October 5, 18) and his debut orchestral CD Those Who Remain (National Sawdust Tracks, October, 12 2018). Both are complemented by a nationwide tour culminating in a jny: New York City CD release concert at Brooklyn’s Roulette, December 5, 2018. (Please scroll below for complete tour schedule.) The Snowghost Sessions ( ...

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Event

International Jazz Composers' Symposium Set for May 16-18, 2019 At The University Of Northern Colorado—Featured Artist Lineup Announced!

International Jazz Composers' Symposium Set for May 16-18, 2019 At The University Of Northern Colorado—Featured Artist Lineup Announced!

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

The fourth International Jazz Composers' Symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC), will be held in the new School of Music facilities at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO from May 16-18, 2019. The Symposium is designed as a forum to bring jazz composers of all ages and nationalities together for an informal exchange of ideas, information, and inspiration. This year's Symposium will include noted master artists ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Jazz Musician of the Day: Bill Frisell

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Bill Frisell's birthday today!

Born in Baltimore, Bill Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio. Soon, the Chicago Blues became a passion through the work of Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy. In high school, he played in bands covering pop and soul classics, James Brown and other dance material. Later... Read more.

Place our Musician ...

Music Industry

Bill Frisell And Brad Mehldau: Alone

Bill Frisell And Brad Mehldau: Alone

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Their recording histories encompass dozens of collaborations, but in their new albums two of the most prolific recording artists in modern music go it alone. Bill Frisell, Music Is (Okeh) Guitarist Bill Frisell reaches into his storehouse of compositions to revisit several that he has recorded before, and to play others for the first time. Frisell is alone, yes, but with the help of producer Lee Townsend and engineer Tucker Martine he overdubs guitar layers and uses looping, applying the ...

"It's hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he's found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play. Unlike other pastichists, who tend to duck passion, Mr. Frisell plays up the pleasure in the music and also takes on another often-avoided subject, tenderness." - The New York Times

"Frisell is a revered figure among musicians - like Miles Davis and few others, his signature is built from pure sound and inflection; an anti-technique that is instantly identifiable." - The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Adam Levy
guitar
Dave Devine
guitar
Samo Salamon
guitar, electric
Greg Diamond
guitar, electric
Lee Barbour
guitar
Pete McCann
guitar
Peter Knoll
guitar
Todd Sickafoose
bass, acoustic
Mike Lorenz
guitar
Martin Fabricius
vibraphone
Oscar Penas
guitar
Ricardo Pinheiro
guitar, electric
Dan Andersen
guitar, electric
Lynn Ligammari
saxophone
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vibraphone
Dave Howard
guitar, electric
Marco Oppedisano
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band / ensemble / orchestra
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guitar
Toine Thys
saxophone, tenor
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bass, electric
Max Ridgway
guitar, electric
Phil Dawson
guitar
Gregg Fine
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Jay Reed
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guitar, electric
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Joby
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guitar, electric
Martin Iaies
guitar, electric
Nastazio Gkoumas
guitar, electric
Marcel Lüscher
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Photos

Concerts

Jul 26 Fri

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Silently Held

Challenge Records
2024

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All One

Edition Records
2023

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Live at Jazz...

Self Produced
2023

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Just So Happens

Postcards
2022

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Baden

Sunnyside Records
2022

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Interpret It Well

Pyroclastic Records
2022

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Interpret It Well

From: Interpret It Well
By Bill Frisell

Odious Mode

From: Impulsive Illuminations
By Bill Frisell

1968

From: Previously Unreleased AAJ...
By Bill Frisell

Strange Meeting

From: Previously Unreleased AAJ...
By Bill Frisell

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