Bill Frisell
Born:
18 March 1951
Country:
US
Genres:
Jazz, Folk, International, Country
Releases:
61
Biography: The defining characteristic of any given jazz musician is frequently his sound. The more control a player has over the nature of that sound, the more likely he is to project a distinctive musical personality. For example, a saxophonist has virtually unlimited physical control of the sound that comes through his horn, and therefore a wide range of tonal expression at his command -- which partially explains the disproportionate number of saxophonists in the pantheon of great jazz musicians. On the other hand, few electric guitarists inhabit that realm, in part because the typical jazz guitar sound differs little from player to player. In general, guitarists do not have the same degree of physical control. Without the use of signal processing -- which jazz purists shun -- they're mostly stuck with the generic sound that comes out of their amp. Hence, guitarists have historically tended to "sound" more or less the same. Bill Frisell is a notable exception. Among jazz guitarists, Frisell is unique in his exploitation of variable timbre. Frisell's sound swells and breathes like a saxophonist's (interestingly, Frisell played clarinet as a child). In many ways his sound is reminiscent of a pedal steel guitar. And although his work is steeped in jazz, Frisell is a man of catholic tastes. His music includes characteristics of rock, country, and bluegrass, among various other styles. Such liberality explains his willingness to expand his tonal palette beyond that of the typical jazz guitarist. Where so many conventional jazz guitarists define themselves by how many notes they can play, Frisell has carved a niche by virtue of his sound. His ability as an original, lyrical player of melody combines with a unique (if much imitated) sound to make him one of the most singular musicians of his generation. Born in Baltimore, Frisell grew up in Denver, Colorado. He began playing the clarinet in the fourth grade and took up guitar a few years later for his personal amusement. He continued with the clarinet, playing in school concert and marching bands. Frisell briefly considered playing classical clarinet professionally. He played guitar in rock and R&B bands as a teenager (high-school classmates included Philip Bailey, Andrew Woolfolk, and Larry Dunn, future members of the funk group Earth, Wind & Fire). He discovered jazz in the music of Wes Montgomery and began to study the music. Dale Bruning, a Denver-based guitarist and educator, fed his fascination with jazz. Frisell decided to make guitar his primary instrument. After briefly attending the University of Northern Colorado, he moved to Boston in 1971 to attend the Berklee School of Music. There he studied with Michael Gibbs and John Damian. While at Berklee, Frisell connected with other like-minded players (Pat Metheny was a classmate). He also studied with Jim Hall, who became an important influence, especially in terms of harmony. In the mid-'70s, Frisell began moving away from pure bebop and began fusing jazz with his other musical interests. At about this time he began developing his atmospheric, quasi-microtonal style. He discovered that, by using a guitar with a flexible neck, he could manipulate the instrument's intonation. A combination of experimental techniques and signal processors like delay and reverb gave Frisell a sound unlike any other guitarist. In the late '70s, he traveled to Belgium. There he met Manfred Eicher, the founder of ECM Records. Beginning in the early '80s, Frisell recorded prolifically for the label, as leader and sideman with such musicians as Paul Motian and Jan Garbarek. He continued with the label throughout the decade, earning a reputation as ECM's "house guitarist." Frisell became much acclaimed by critics for his sophisticated yet accessible work. Frisell moved to New York in the '80s, where he worked with many of the most creative musicians active on the city's "downtown" jazz scene. In the '80s and '90s, he would record and perform with a huge variety of artists, not all of them jazz musicians. Collaborators would include rock and pop musicians (drummer Ginger Baker, singers Marianne Faithfull and Elvis Costello), experimental jazz musicians (saxophonist/composers John Zorn and Tim Berne), and at least one classical composer (Gavin Bryars). Frisell composed soundtracks for the silent films of Buster Keaton. His 1996 album Quartet won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, the German equivalent of the Grammy. Frisell became an annual winner of various magazine polls for his solo work and recordings. By the end of the '90s, Frisell was one of the most well-known jazz musicians in the world, with an audience and an aesthetic that transcended the boundaries of any given style. It should be mentioned that, while Frisell is best known for his somewhat "ambient" guitar technique, he is a swinging, harmonically fluent jazz player when the occasion warrants. Frisell moved to Seattle, Washington in 1989 and stayed active as the 21st century opened, releasing Ghost Town in 2000, followed by a set with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones in 2001. Blues Dream also appeared that same year, followed by The Willies in 2002. East/West and Richter 858 were both released in 2005, and a set with Ron Carter and Paul Motian in 2006. History, Mystery followed in 2008. In 2010, a trio recording entitled Beautiful Dreamers was released by Savoy Jazz. A collection of covers and originals, it featured Frisell in the company of violinist Eyvind Kang and drummer Roy Royston. Frisell also appeared as a sideman on Reveille, the debut solo offering by Kermit Driscoll, former bassist of the guitarist's earlier working trio. Abigail Washburn's 2011 album City of Refuge featured Frisell as lead guitarist. He kicked off his own series of releases in 2011 with Lagrimas Mexicanas, a series of duets with Brazilian guitarist and vocalist Vinicius Cantuária; the album was produced by Lee Townsend and released on the Entertainment on Disc/eOne imprint. Townsend also produced Frisell's return to Savoy Jazz, Sign of Life. That album featured a reunion of the 858 Quartet wth Frisell on guitars, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola, and Hank Roberts on cello.
Music IS
Music IS
Tracks: 16
Year: 2018
The Maid With The Flaxen Hair
The Maid With The Flaxen Hair
Tracks: 10
Year: 2018
Music IS
Music IS
Tracks: 16
Year: 2018
The Maid With The Flaxen Hair
The Maid With The Flaxen Hair
Tracks: 10
Year: 2018
Live At Jazz Middelheim
Live At Jazz Middelheim
Tracks: 6
Year: 2018
Live At Jazz Middelheim
Live At Jazz Middelheim
Tracks: 6
Year: 2018
I Am A Man
I Am A Man
Tracks: 7
Year: 2017
Small Town
Small Town
Tracks: 8
Year: 2017
I Am A Man
I Am A Man
Tracks: 7
Year: 2017
Small Town
Small Town
Tracks: 8
Year: 2017
When You Wish Upon A Star
When You Wish Upon A Star
Tracks: 16
Year: 2016
When You Wish Upon A Star
When You Wish Upon A Star
Tracks: 16
Year: 2016
Guitar In The Space Age!
Guitar In The Space Age!
Tracks: 14
Year: 2014
Guitar In The Space Age!
Guitar In The Space Age!
Tracks: 14
Year: 2014
Big Sur
Big Sur
Tracks: 19
Year: 2013
Big Sur
Big Sur
Tracks: 19
Year: 2013
Lagrimas Mexicanas
Lagrimas Mexicanas
Tracks: 10
Year: 2011
Disfarmer
Disfarmer
Tracks: 26
Year: 2009
Blues Dream Live (dvd-rip)
Blues Dream Live (dvd-rip)
Tracks: 16
Year: 2009
Hemispheres (2CD)
Hemispheres (2CD)
Tracks: 20
Year: 2008
History, Mystery
History, Mystery
Tracks: 30
Year: 2008
History, Mystery (2CD)
History, Mystery (2CD)
Tracks: 30
Year: 2008
All Hat
All Hat
Tracks: 31
Year: 2008
Hemispheres
Hemispheres
Tracks: 20
Year: 2008
Time and Time Again
Time and Time Again
Tracks: 10
Year: 2007
Richter 858
Richter 858
Tracks: 8
Year: 2005
Unspeakable
Unspeakable
Tracks: 14
Year: 2004
The Intercontinentals
The Intercontinentals
Tracks: 14
Year: 2003
The Willies
The Willies
Tracks: 16
Year: 2002
Blues Dream
Blues Dream
Tracks: 18
Year: 2001
Silent Comedy
Silent Comedy
Tracks: 11
Year: 2000
Silent Comedy
Silent Comedy
Tracks: 11
Year: 2000
gone, just like a train
gone, just like a train
Tracks: 16
Year: 1998
The Sweetest Punch
The Sweetest Punch
Tracks: 15
Year: 1998
Have a Little Faith
Have a Little Faith
Tracks: 18
Year: 1992
News For Lulu
News For Lulu
Tracks: 20
Year: 1988
News For Lulu
News For Lulu
Tracks: 20
Year: 1988
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