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Bill Frisell

Background information
Birth name William Richard Frisell
Born March 18, 1951
Baltimore, Maryland
Genres Jazz, Americana, World music, Film soundtracks
Occupations Guitarist, composer, music arranger
Instruments Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster,Steve Klein Electric

William Richard "Bill" Frisell (born March 18, 1951) is an American guitarist and composer.

One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late '80s Frisell's eclectic music touches on progressive folk, classical music, country music, noise and more. He is known for using an array of effects (delay, distortion, reverb, octave shifters, and volume pedals, to name a few) to create unique sounds from his instrument.

Contents

Biography

Early life and career

Frisell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent most of his youth in the Denver, Colorado area. He played clarinet as a youth, and went to the University of Northern Colorado to study music.

His original guitar teacher in the Denver area was Dale Bruning, with whom Frisell released the 2000 duo album "Reunion". After graduating from Northern Colorado, where he studied with Johnny Smith, Frisell went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and studied with Jon Damian and Jim Hall.

The ECM Records years

Frisell's major break came when guitarist Pat Metheny was unable to make a recording session, and recommended Frisell to Paul Motian who was recording Psalm (1982) for ECM Records.[1] Frisell became ECM's in-house guitar player, and worked on several albums, most notably Jan Garbarek's 1981 Paths, Prints. Frisell's first solo release was In Line featured solo guitar and duets with bassist Arild Andersen.

New York City era

Frisell's first group to receive much acclaim was a quartet with Kermit Driscoll on bass, Joey Baron on drums, and Hank Roberts on cello (later slimmed down to a trio when Roberts left). Many other albums with larger ensembles were recorded with this group as the core.

In the 1980s Frisell lived in New York City and was an active participant in the city's music scene. He forged an early partnership with John Zorn—including as a member of quick-change band Naked City—and performed or recorded with many others. He also became known for his work in drummer Paul Motian's trio, along with saxophonist Joe Lovano.

The Seattle Years

In 1988 Frisell left New York City and moved to Seattle, Washington.[2] In the early 1990s Frisell made two of his best-reviewed albums: first, Have a Little Faith, an ambitious survey of Americana of all stripes, from Charles Ives and Aaron Copland (the entirety of Billy the Kid) to John Hiatt (the title song), Bob Dylan ("Just Like A Woman") and Madonna (a lengthy, psychedelic rock-tinged version of "Live to Tell"); and second, This Land, a complementary set of originals. During this time he performed with many musicians, including the more up and coming, such as Douglas September on album 10 Bulls. He also branched out by performing soundtracks to silent films of Buster Keaton with his trio, and contributed to Ryuichi Sakamoto's album Heartbeat.

In the mid-1990s, Frisell disbanded his trio. He continued the trend marked by Have a Little Faith by more explicitly incorporating elements of bluegrass and country music into his music. His friendship with Gary Larson led him to provide music for the TV version of The Far Side[3] (released on the album Quartet along with music written for Keaton's Convict 13). Since the late 1990's Bill Frisell has lived in Bainbridge Island, Washington, near Seattle.

2000s

Several of Frisell's songs, including "Over the Rainbow" and "Coffaro's Theme", were featured in the movie Finding Forrester (2000).

In 1999, Frisell was commissioned by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota to compose Blues Dream, which he premiered on November 15, 1999. He later recorded the work for a 2001 release on Nonesuch.

Also in 1999, he released The Sweetest Punch which featured a seven-piece jazz ensemble reworking the tunes written and recorded by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach on Painted from Memory.[4]

Between 2003 and 2005 Frisell acted as musical director for Century of Song, a series of concerts at the German arts festival RuhrTriennale (produced by Lee Townsend). Frisell invited artists including Rickie Lee Jones, Elvis Costello, Suzanne Vega, Arto Lindsay, Loudon Wainwright III, Vic Chesnutt, Van Dyke Parks, Buddy Miller, Ron Sexsmith and Chip Taylor to perform their favorite songs in new arrangements.

In 2003, Frisell's The Intercontinentals was nominated for a Grammy award; he won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for his album Unspeakable. His 2008 album, History, Mystery was nominated for a 2009 Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

Frisell was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. [5]

In 2009, Frisell featured in a duet rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" with singer/songwriter Sam Shrieve. The recording was released on Shrieve's debut album Bittersweet Lullabies.

Selected Discography

Title Year Label
In Line 1983 ECM
Rambler 1984 ECM
Lookout for Hope 1987 ECM
Before We Were Born 1989 Nonesuch
Is That You? 1990 Nonesuch
Where in the World? 1991 Nonesuch
Have a Little Faith 1992 Nonesuch
This Land 1994 Nonesuch
Go West: Music for the Films of Buster Keaton 1995 Nonesuch
The High Sign/One Week: Music for the Films of Buster Keaton 1995 Nonesuch
Live 1995 Gramavision
Quartet 1996 Nonesuch
Nashville 1997 Nonesuch
Gone, Just Like a Train 1998 Nonesuch
Good Dog, Happy Man 1999 Nonesuch
Ghost Town 2000 Nonesuch
Blues Dream 2001 Nonesuch
With Dave Holland and Elvin Jones 2001 Nonesuch
The Willies 2002 Nonesuch
The Intercontinentals 2003 Nonesuch
Unspeakable 2004 Nonesuch
Richter 858 2005 Songlines
East/West 2005 Nonesuch
Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian 2006 Nonesuch
Floratone 2007 Bluenote
History, Mystery 2008 Nonesuch
Hemispheres 2008 ArtistShare
Disfarmer 2009 Nonesuch

TV appearances

References

  • Zorn, John, ed. (2000). Musicians on Music. New York: Granary Books/Hips Road. ISBN 188712327X.

External links








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