Other Players

Bill Frisell

1

Any of you enjoy the playing of Bill Frisell like I do?

This guy is really entertaining.

2

Frisell is one my favorite musicians.

3

He's a great player, enteraining and capable of real beauty too - his version of 'Shenandoah' would make a statue weep.

4

Just been listening to the album of covers Bill did recently with pedal steel player Greg Leisz. Some outstanding playing and very inventive arrangements.

5

He's one of those guy's I really like, but I gotta be in the mood for it. Almost like meditation music.

6

Polecats, thanks for this. Bill really starts to dig in at about 45 minutes. Then, A Change Is Gonna Come into I Can't Help Falling In Love With You... at Elvis's house.

7

Me likum Bill most much. One of the best ever.

As Opie suggests, referring to "meditation music," there's a sense of repose and essential stillness in Frisell's work which is present even when there's plenty of propulsion and forward motion in the material itself. I haven't analyzed the technical components of that restfulness - whether he plays consistently behind the beat, or places phrases where they're not expected and leaves holes where we expect licks - but there's never any nervous insistence or sense of urgency or restlessness. Maybe the guy's an ascended Zen master, and this is just his centered beingness coming through. Maybe he's conquered leaning forward and just always fully inhabits the moment.

It's not that he doesn't innovate or explore - along with the roots-and-standards interpretations, he's done some pretty avant garde and experimental material, including some forays into glitch, bleep, and other expressions of pure noise. And it's not like he can't ROCK. But even THAT material is, if not calming exactly, somehow masterfully present in the moment.

Great tone (and a variety of tones at that, from clean to overdriven), all the technique a guy could ever need, and equally adept at formal, composed material and responsively interactive improv.

He has a terrifyingly extensive discography; I don't have all of it, though I probably should. Random favorites: Blues Dream, Live with with Kermit Driscoll & Joey Brown, Gone Just Like a Train, Good Dog Happy Man, Guitars in the Space Age, Beautiful Dreamers.

8

Good Dog, Happy Man is a stellar record. I bought a copy in wax and it's in heavy rotation on the turntable. Nashville and All We Are Saying (his tribute to the music of John Lennon) are two of my favorites in his discography as well.

I had front row seats on the AWAS tour when it rolled through Pittsburgh (on my birthday no less!). The band performed incredibly inventive arrangements and Frisell played masterfully. His use of looping and time-based stomp gadgets was both musical and progressive. Never mind that my date made it known throughout the show that she was firmly a "Stones person." Her shelf life was short.

Frisell sits in with The Bad Plus often and that is a treat for modern jazz guys & gals. I believe they are teaming up for some upcoming dates in NYC too? I read his last mailer a few weeks ago and vaguely remember that grabbing my attention when I read it.

9

Bill is someone I've listened to since the 1980s when he was releasing jazz and related material; loved his work with Paul Motian. Several years back I was in the doldrums as far as musical direction and I heard Good Dog, Happy Man. The sounds on that record reconnected me with all the sounds that I heard growing up in Nova Scotia and triggered a new/old direction; I'm very grateful.

10

Where in NS, Jman? One of my favorite places on this particular planet...

11

Yeah. I really like his style. Great arrangement of A Change is Gona Come

12

I firmly believe that Elvis would be so happy to have all that music in his home once again.

13

That guy's got gigantic hands. He doesn't look like a very large man, but man those mitts are big. He makes that Tele look tiny. See how he bars the frets with practically just one knuckle of his index finger? It takes near the entire length of my index finger to do that.

14

Where in NS, Jman? One of my favorite places on this particular planet...

– Proteus

The old homestead is about six miles outside of a town called Kentville on the south mountain. If we were on the opposite, north mountain, that would be the head of the Bay of Fundy/Minas Basin area. You can see the basin from the end of the road, looking across the Annapolis valley. The local radio station played country music all day; they still do kinda', but I wouldn't call it country music. Its got fiddles and pedal steels though.

15

That guy's got gigantic hands. He doesn't look like a very large man, but man those mitts are big. He makes that Tele look tiny. See how he bars the frets with practically just one knuckle of his index finger? It takes near the entire length of my index finger to do that.

Otter, I hadn't noticed. That may be a source of his stillness and command right there. With his knowledge of the fretboard, maybe he just thinks of what he wants, and his hand is there. With my little T-Rex claws, I'm always skittering and scrambling to get collections of notes together. No wonder I sound frantic.


The old homestead is about six miles outside of a town called Kentville on the south mountain. If we were on the opposite, north mountain, that would be the head of the Bay of Fundy/Minas Basin area.

Journeyman, yep, I see it on the map there. During my several visits, we stayed mostly on the coastline (all the way around) - but did Fundy either from the NB side or Truro. Kinda missed anything in your neck of the woods from Annapolis to Truro. I recall Digby, New Glasgow, and Antigonish.

Last time I was there (ugh, maybe early 90s), I picked up local music on cassette at gas stations. Forget what I got from Nova Scotia (it WAS country-esque in character, allowing for the regional influences), but discovered Lennie Gallant around Rustico on PEI. Great stuff.

I'm about due for another trip to the area. I think of it as something like paradise. (Though I understand people who winter over have a different view.)

16

Ashamed to say that I don't know much about Bill Frisell. After reading this thread, I created a Pandora station based on him and wow! Several cuts from Good Dog, Happy Man amongst others have played and I really dig him! Proteus, your description is spot on. Thanks for the tip Polecats!

17

"I'm about due for another trip to the area. I think of it as something like paradise. (Though I understand people who winter over have a different view.)"

Winters aren't too bad except up Cape Breton way. Down Annapolis/Digby way there is actually a micro climate; a tad milder (a tiny tad) than the rest of the province. I go home every year so let me know if you are heading down there in the future; ya never know, we might be able to hook up for a pint.

19

Bill is great. A great influence on my thinking of music and playing. Just great

20

Polecats, thanks for this. Bill really starts to dig in at about 45 minutes. Then, A Change Is Gonna Come into I Can't Help Falling In Love With You... at Elvis's house.

– Deed Eddy

Deed, glad you liked it. You are right Elvis would have liked Bill's playing and bring it back home.

Speculation here but I think had Elvis lived and he had become familiar with Bill's playing I think he would have asked Bill to do some recordings with him.

21

Talking of Bill playing wth Elvis....not the same Elvis of course but he did an album and several shows with Elvis Costello. Just put their names together into youtube and you'll find lots of examples - here's one to whet the appetite - HERE

22

NSM thanks for the tip on the other Elvis. I am an Elvis Costello fan but haven't really kept up with him in recent years. More of a fan of his early work. He kind of went in the way of adult contemporary so I lost track of him and didn't know the work he did with Bill Frisell. I'll check out your link. Thanks bud.


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