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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.”

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”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

“I like to have fun when I play and I like comedy - but it's not a conscious thing

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298 Photos Slideshow

Date Detail Price
Dec14Fri
20:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: 80th Birthday...
Rose Theater
New York, NY
Dec15Sat
20:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: 80th Birthday...
Rose Theater
New York, NY
Dec16Sun
19:00
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels And Lucinda...
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
Dec20Thu
20:00
Bill Frisell: A Benefit For Roulette
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$45
Dec20Thu
20:00
Bill Frisell Solo
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$45
Jan22Tue
20:00
Bill Frisell “when You Wish Upon A...
Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA
$20-45
Feb17Sun
19:00
Bill Frisell
Ardmore Music Hall
Ardmore, PA
$28

Discography

1968

1968

Bill Frisell
Previously Unreleased AAJ...

Strange Meeting

Strange Meeting

Bill Frisell
Previously Unreleased AAJ...

Videos

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