The Bill Frisell Songbook: Part 1

Ludovico Granvassu By

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Every generation has a number of defining musicians who stand out for their innovations and distinctive voices. For us growing up musically in the 1980s and 1990s and interested in forward looking music, Bill Frisell is one of these foundational figures. His instrumental style is certainly unique and has shaped the way the following generations have approached the guitar, and—more and more so—his compositions are being embraced by his peers. His tunes integrate sources as diverse as country music, rock, pop, surf music or American contemporary and classical music into jazz. They contain many familiar traits which are hard to pin down because they've been revisited through Frisell's original vision, creating a brand of Americana that has become influential well beyond the confines of the US. With tunes like "Throughout" or "Strange Meeting" having been covered by tens of musicians, Bill Frisell's songbook is becoming as influential as his instrumental style.

Here we'll explore renditions of his songs by Michael Gibbs; Wayne Horvitz; Unscientific Italians; Elvis Costello and Metropole Orkest; Molly Johnson; Steve Arguelles; Aljosa Jeric; Charlie Haden; Tony Malaby; Noël Akchoté; Dylan-Thomas Vance and Griff Bear; and Jerry Douglas.


  • Ben Allison "Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00
  • Michael Gibbs "Freddy's Step" Play a Bill Frisell Set List (Cuneiform) 0:16
  • Host talks 03:04
  • Wayne Horvitz 's Zony Mash + Horns "Big Shoe" Live at the Royal Room (Self-released) 5:26
  • Host talks 16:47
  • Unscientific Italians "Rob Roy" Play the Music of Bill Frisell -Vol. 1 (Hora) 18:17
  • Elvis Costello "Upon a Veil of Midnight Blue (Live with the Metropole Orkest)" My Flame Burns Blue (Deutsche Grammophon) 25:20
  • Host talks 30:19
  • Molly Johnson "Deep Dead Blue" Molly Johnson (Form) 31:51
  • Steve Argüelles "Rag" Busy Listening (Babel) 34:51
  • Aljosa Jeric "Strange Meeting" The Venice Session (Kuhna) 40:00
  • Host talks 44:18
  • Charlie Haden "Throughout" Not in Our Name (Impulse!) 46:00
  • Tony Malaby Cello Trio "Waiting Inside" Warblepeck (Songlines) 54:47
  • Noël Akchoté "Hangdog" Hard Plains Drifters (Plays the Music of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1) (Self-released) 1:00:14
  • Noël Akchoté "Goodbye" Hard Plains Drifters (Plays the Music of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1) (Self-released) 1:02:02
  • Noël Akchoté "Verona" When We Go (Plays the Music of Bill Frisell, Vol. 2) (Self-released) 1:03:24
  • Noël Akchoté "Monroe" When We Go (Plays the Music of Bill Frisell, Vol. 2) (Self-released) 1:04:48
  • Host talks 1:05:57
  • Dylan-Thomas Vance and Griff Bear "Go Jake" Live at Biddy McGraws (Triple M) 1:07:44
  • Jerry Douglas "Lookout for Hope" Lookout for Hope (Sugar Hill) 1:15:33
Photo credit: Monica Jane Frisell

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