Lee is currently working on the following projects:
Bill Frisell - Music IS
Bill Frisell's Music IS, will be released in early 2018 on OKeh/Sony Music Masterworks. It is his first solo album since the making of Ghost Town, released on Nonesuch, over twenty years ago.
"Playing ‘solo' (alone) is always a challenge", Frisell says. "For me, music has all along been so much about playing with other people. Having a conversation. Call and response. Playing all by myself is a trip. I really have to change the way I think. In preparation for this recording I played for a week at The Stone in New York. Each night I attempted new music that I'd never played before. I was purposely trying to keep myself a little off balance. Uncomfortable. Unsure. I didn't want to fall back on things that I knew were safe. My hope was to continue this process right on into the studio. I didn't want to have things be all planned out beforehand.”
Recorded in August, 2017 at Tucker Martine’s Flora Recording and Playback studio in Portland, Oregon and produced by longtime collaborator Lee Townsend, all of the compositions on Music IS were written by Frisell, some of them brand new – Change in the Air, Thankful, What Do You Want, Miss You and Go Happy Lucky – others being solo adaptations of now classic original compositions he had previously recorded, such as Ron Carter, Pretty Stars, Monica Jane, and The Pioneers. In Line, and Rambler are from Frisell’s first two ECM albums.
Frisell explains: "Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine are two of my longtime, closest, most trusted musical brothers. We've been through thick and thin. They clear the way for me to just PLAY. When we got to the studio I brought a big pile of music and we went from there. Let one thing lead to the next. Trust the process. In the moment. We mixed as we went along. The composing, arranging, playing, recording, and mixing all became one thing.”
The focus of Music IS is on the telling of musical stories from Frisell’s original and inimitable perspective. Some of the interpretations being naked, exposed and truly solo, while others are more orchestrated through overdubbed layering and the use of his unparalleled approach to looping.
Frisell concludes: "I knew from the beginning that I wanted to record my own compositions. In the past few years I've done so many projects playing other people's music. (John Lennon, Guitar in the Space Age, When You Wish Upon a Star, etc.) It's wonderful ....and seductive. That's how I learn. I could spend the rest of my life studying Burt Bacharach....or Charlie Parker...or Bach...or? Never ending. But, it was time to get back to my own stuff. What ended up on this album were a variety of pieces. Some brand new and some from way far back. 'In Line' and 'Rambler' are from my very first recordings on ECM. I've been plugging away playing music for more than fifty years now. I'll never figure it out. One of the amazing things about getting older is being able to revisit things that I heard or played long long ago. There's always something new to discover, something to uncover. New pathways open up. If I'm really lucky I might even realize that I've learned something along the way. It's far out looking at my own music though this long lens."
Music IS. The end result is Frisell at his most distilled and fully realized.
Lee Townsend in production on two new projects with long-time collaborators Rinde Eckert and Jerry Granelli:
Rinde Eckert - The Natural World
After an extended country-wide solo tour, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Rinde entered Fantasy Studios with Lee Townsend to record a solo project, entitled The Natural World, with Rinde singing and playing all the instruments, including electric and acoustic guitars, piano, organ, electronic keyboard and samples, banjo ukulele, resonator ukulele, wood flute and percussion. The material is predominantly original Eckert compositions in addition to a new arrangements of the traditional folk song “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” and a piece by J.S. Bach, both with new lyrics by Rinde. The Natural World will be released on August 24th by Songtone in conjunction with the National Sawdust label, Via. An album release concert will be held on August 26 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn.
Jerry Granelli - Dance Hall
Drummer Granelli and a stellar band of Robben Ford and Bill Frisell (guitars) and J. Anthony Granelli (bass) recorded with Lee and engineer Sheldon Zaharko at The Armoury in Vancouver, British Columbia. The music is R&B flavored jazz - several pieces include a horn section with arrangements by Steven Bernstein. Songs include “The Great Pretender”, Dylan’s “Meet Me in the Morning”, Louis Jordan’s “Caledonia”, Fats Domino’s "Ain’t That a Shame”, Mingus’ "Boogie Stop Shuffle”, “This Bitter Earth” and “Never Gonna Break My Faith”. Mixing begins in January for a 2017 release.
Carrie Rodriguez - Lola Carrie Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, finds beauty in the cross-pollination of diverse traditions. A passionate performer, she effortlessly melds fiery fiddle playing, electrifying vocals and a fresh interpretation of new and classic songs with an “Ameri-Chicana” attitude. Her newest project, the upcoming Spanish/English album “Lola,” is both a return to her musical roots and something of a departure where she delivers her own twangy, Texas-bred twist on Mexican Ranchera songs, creating culturally blended music for a culturally blended world. Inspired by the 1940’s-era recordings of Carrie’s great aunt, Chicana singing sensation Eva Garza, the album is a mixture of new and old songs. It features Spanish songs written by some of Carrie’s favorite Mexican composers, as well as her own Ranchera-inspired original songs written in English, Spanish and “Spanglish.” Produced by Lee Townsend, the album is supported by an all-star band, The Sacred Hearts, assembled especially for this project. The band features internationally acclaimed composer/guitarist Bill Frisell, Viktor Krauss on bass, Luke Jacobs on pedal steel and guitars, David Pulkingham on nylon string guitar and electric guitar and Brannen Temple on drums and percussion. The crowdfunded project is set to be released on Feb. 19, 2016 by Carrie’s own label, Luz Records. Engineered by Jacob Sciba and Adam Muñoz and mastered with Greg Calbi.
|Bill Frisell - When You Wish Upon a Star With When You Wish Upon a Star, the Grammy award winning ever-versatile guitarist Bill Frisell draws upon the classic film and television music we have heard on screen and how it shapes and informs our emotional relationships to what we see. Frisell, whose own music has been featured in major motion pictures like Finding Forrester and The Million Dollar Hotel is joined by Violist Eyvind Kang, bassist Thomas Morgan, drummer Kenny Wollesen, and singer Petra Haden, joining Frisell in re-imagining time-honored gems like “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “To Kill a Mockingird”, “The Shadow of Your Smile”, “Moon River”, “You Only Live Twice", Themes from “The Godfather”, “Psycho”, “Once Upon a Time in the West”, Frisell's own theme for Gary Larson’s television special, “Tales from the Far Side” and others. Produced by Lee Townsend; engineered by Tucker Martine and Adam Muñoz; and mastered with Greg Calbi.
Bill Frisell Guitar in the Space Age! Always on the lookout for opportunities to "dig around for where I'm coming from," Bill Frisell’s next project, GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! is an homage to the inspirational popular music of his formative years made in the wake of “the birth of the Fender Telecaster guitar” - (1951, the same year as Frisell’s own birth) - that, he recalls, "got me super fired-up" about his instrument of choice. Frisell and his band mates Greg Leisz (guitar, pedal steel), Tony Scherr (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums, percussion) explore material, recently recorded for release on Okeh/Sony Masterworks this coming October, associated with The Beach Boys, Junior Wells, Pete Seeger, The Byrds, Duane Eddy, The Ventures, The Kinks, Chet Atkins, Link Wray, Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant, The Astronauts and Merle Travis, as well as original material by Frisell. As on all of his projects, the proceedings will be, Bill understates, "rich with possibility”. Produced by Lee Townsend, with the stellar team of recording engineer Tucker Martine, mixing engineer Adam Muñoz and mastering engineer Greg Calbi.
Bill Frisell Big Sur Lee recently finished producing Bill Frisell's new album, "Big Sur" featuring music that was commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival and premiered there in September, 2012. Bill composed all the music during a residency at Glen Deven Ranch in Big Sur, California. The album features Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), Hank Roberts (cello) and Rudy Royston (drums). It is the debut recording on Bill’s new record label home, Okeh Records, a division of Sony Masterworks. “Big Sur” was recorded and mixed at Fantasy Studios with engineer, Adam Muñoz.
Rodriguez Give Me All You Got As
most Carrie Rodriguez fans have come to expect by now, her new
album "Give Me All You Got" features her commanding vocals
and potent fiddle playing. But it is her burgeoning composing abilities
that help make the new album an especially beguiling and memorable
listening experience. Whether writing on her own or in collaboration
with close musical colleagues like Chip Taylor and guitarist Luke
Jacobs, Carrie¹s formidable songwriting gifts are a revelation
and the collective power of her songs and those she selected by
other songwriters is both illuminating and astonishing. The band
is stellar Luke Jacobs (guitars, vocals), Hans Holzen (guitars),
Erik Deutsch (keyboards), Kyle Kegerreis (bass) and Don Heffington
(drums and percussion). Produced by Lee Townsend, engineered by
Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and mastered by
Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in New York.
Guitar Music From Two Rising Young European Originals
Dujardin Distances The
phenomenal Belgian guitarist who Lee first worked with on the
Kalaban Coura project has a brand new album of his own. Distances is
a collection of Quentin’s luminous original compositions
featuring his soulful acoustic guitar playing (and a bit of electric,
too). The arrangements range from the sparse to the densely
layered, featuring special guest appearances by Quentin’s
musical colleagues from Morocco, Mali, Europe and Palestine. Engineered
by Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios.
Soler¹s Denga Botanicas -
debut album from the Barcelona-based guitarist and expert musical
colorist David Soler with his band Denga, a brilliant group of
New York and Iberian musicians Erik Deutsch (keyboards),
Ben Rubin (bass), Borja Barrueta (drums and percussion) and Marc
Pino (marimba and vibes). The material includes indelible original
compositions by Soler, highly textured pieces shaped and constructed
from group improvisations, and radiant reductions and reinterpretations
of orchestral works by Stravinsky, Bartok and Messiaen for his
band, Denga. Engineered by Adam Muñoz in Spain and
at Fantasy Studios.
|New Music From the Real Vocal
The San Francisco-based Real Vocal String Quartet features string player/vocalists
Irene Sazer (violin), Alisa Rose (violin), Dina Maccabee (viola) and Jessica
Ivry (cello) - a string quartet captured at the height of their collective expressive
powers on their vibrant new album. Four Little Sisters features
original compositions by the band members along with the group’s own fresh
arrangements of songs by Regina Spektor, Gilberto Gil, Duke Pearson and David
Byrne as well as traditional material with a distinctly Cajun flavor. Engineered
by Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios.
Improvisation is sometimes described as spontaneous composition.
But in the case of Floratone,
the collaborative project of guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Matt
Chamberlain, and producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine, improvisation
is the source of raw material for an extended process of assemblage,
arrangement, and augmentation: Call it composition over the long
haul. With special guests Ron Miles on cornet, Eyvind Kang
on viola, Mike Elizondo on bass and Jon Brion on keyboards.
“On Floratone II, with no names on the front cover, Floratone is even more clearly a group, its unique approach sculpting music distinctly cinematic in nature... Without any overt references, the music sounds like the soundtrack to an imaginary film... As Floratone continues to drive Teo Macero’s innovative collage work with trumpeter Miles Davis' late 1960s/early 1970s electric music into the 21st century and beyond, the expansive, cinematic Floratone II gives hope that Frisell, Chamberlain, Townsend and Martine will continue to collaborate well into the future.” - John Kelman, All About Jazz
Matt Chamberlain, Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine – Floratone II (2012)
"Floratone is Mr. Frisell’s studio
alliance with the drummer Matt Chamberlain and the producers
Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine. The project, which hinges on
a deft editorial restructuring of free-form guitar-and-drums
interplay, released its self-titled debut on Blue Note in 2007.
Everyone on board seems to have adjusted to the premise since
then. “Floratone II” is a surer and more engaging
album. Most of its tracks still feel like snapshots, but they’re
vivid, color-saturated, with flashes of intrigue."
"As on the first Floratone album, some parts
have been outsourced to the trumpeter Ron Miles and the violist
Eyvind Kang. Also joining that effort this time are the bassist
Mike Elizondo and the multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, who happen
to be record producers with a gift for artfully rendered pop."
"It’s impossible to know who called
the shots at various points on this album, but the 10-minute
stretch that drifts from “Move” to “Do You
Have It?” to “The Time, The Place” represents
the best outcome for all involved — not only because Mr.
Frisell sounds so resourceful and enlivened, but also because
all the layers of surrounding detail make such intuitive sense.
Mr. Frisell and Mr. Chamberlain may be the heart and soul of
Floratone, but Mr. Townsend and Mr. Martine clearly make up a
good chunk of its brain." - Nate Chinen, The New York
"Ever since Bill Frisell broke away from his longtime label Nonesuch
and signed up with Savoy Jazz a couple of years ago, we have been
subjected to wave after wave of Frisell releases...."
"Wait, did I say “subjected” us to a deluge of fresh
recordings? Oh no, over here we welcome every new Frisell offering,
especially since Bill never stays in one place from record to record.
He will, however, revisit ground he’s covered before after
some time, and, well, it’s been nearly five years since Bill
Frisell has made a record with his Floratone cohorts, so guess
what? Yep, that’s right. Next week, the second collaboration
among Frisell, Matt Chamberlain, Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine
hits the street. The first meeting was called Floratone, and the
new one is christened Floratone II. The story and basic concept
behind this group goes like this: Frisell and drummer/percussionist
Matt Chamberlain get together and come up with musical concepts,
patterns and basic progressions. Townsend and Martine come in and
take these globs and turn them into identifiable shapes. They do
so by adding textures, mixing, editing and adding additional accompaniment,
such as Kang’s viola and Ron MIles’ cornet, as in the
first record. Mike Elizondo provides the bass this time and Jon
Brion is on keys."
"Floratone to Bill Frisell is a lot like what The Fireman is to
Paul McCartney : a way to break outside of usual comfort areas
by having someone else shape the sound and bringing in a musical
partner to bounce ideas off of. As Frisell seems to increasingly
favor mid-20th century Americana motifs of late (and you can still
find them on Floratone II, see “Stand By This”), this
project puts his music sonically back in the present even as the
music is instantly recognizable as a Bill Frisell type record."
"“The Bloom Is On” immediately makes clear the touch
of Townsend and Martine, as Frisell’s guitar is looped and
dubbed over to give the song a dreamy, slightly psychedelic character.
Miles’ horn is layered eloquently for “More Pluck” and
combines with Kang’s viola and electronic atmospherics to
blend right in with Frisell’s stinging tones. Mildly suggesting
the Spanish flavors he explored on Lágrimas Mexicanas with
Vinicius Cantuaria last year, “The Time, The Place” is
a sweet, gentle piece that doesn’t even feature Frisell much
at all, but rather, Miles and Kang swapping lines instead."
"It might be easy to tune in on Frisell only and his idiosyncratic
guitar mannerisms, but you would be ignoring Chamberlain at your
own risk. Like Frisell, he’s a master of tone, space and
placement, and those abilities show up gloriously on tunes like
the swampy groove of “Snake, Rattle,” the second line
wiggle of “Do You Have It?” and especially the rapid
hand percussion that drives “Move.” He and Frisell
create a cool, maddenly asymmetrical fractured rock rhythm that
makes “No Turn Back” such fun."
"As with the first Floratone, Frisell cedes some creative control
with guys he trusts, and once again, the trust pays off in a Bill
Frisell record that he couldn’t have quite have done on his
own. Not better nor worse than a proper Frisell record, the appeal
of Floratone II lies in the four different visions, of talented
performers and producers alike, coming together as a single piece
of work." - S.Victor Aaron, Somethin’ Else.
The impressive debut album from this band of international musical
colleagues from Mali, Morocco and Belgium is a story of two guitars
and a violin with soulful vocals from Bamako and the Moroccan desert
and a burning rhythm section. "Kalaban
Kalil Sidy Haïdara (vocals, guitars), Quentin Dujardin (vocals, guitars), Jalal El Allouli (vocals & violin), Boris Schmidt (bass), Arnout Hellofs (drums & percussion) and
special guests. Produced by Lee Townsend.
guitarist, composer and musical interpreter Bill Frisell
has assembled a trusted ensemble consisting of Jenny Scheinman
(violin), Tony Scherr (bass), Greg Leisz (guitars) and Kenny Wollesen
(drums) to record his take on the classic songs of John Lennon.
Titled “ALL WE ARE SAYING,” the project has long been
in the works—one could go as far back as the first time he
heard the Beatles at the age of 13. Fast forward a few decades
and Frisell is asked to put together an impromptu set in honor
of John Lennon as part of a special event in Paris. The preparation,
performances and reception to these compositions was an inspiration
nurtured to fruition with this project. Recorded at Fantasy
Studios in Berkeley and produced by Lee Townsend.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as “the most innovative and influential
jazz guitarist of the past 25 years” Frisell’s artistry has earned
across the board praise for his instinctual musicianship—working both within
and beyond the parameters of jazz music as he effortlessly incorporates elements
of Americana, world, blues, classical, creating a rich and unique aural tapestry.
Says Frisell: “John Lennon's music has been with me, the band, everybody,
the world...seems like forever. The songs are part of us. In our blood. There
was nothing we really needed to do to prepare for this. We've been preparing
our whole lives. The songs are there. All we had to do was play them. Everyone
involved with this has their own personal, deep, long, relationship to John Lennon's
music. It connects us all and brings us together. I feel blessed having the chance
to play this music with these people”.
“All We Are Saying” song list:
Across the Universe
Please Please Me
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
In My Life
# 9 Dream
Give Peace a Chance
Songtone and Carrie Rodriguez
After many years of collaborating on various projects including Carrie
Rodriguez’s two most recent albums - “Love and Circumstance” and “We
Still Love Our Country” - Songtone and Carrie have decided
to enter into a management relationship. We are thrilled to
be working with her on a more extensive basis. And we are in
the midst of planning her next recording. So stay tuned for
more details on that.
Rodriguez' new album, "Love
and Circumstance", produced by Lee, has been released
on Opus Music. It features interpretations of favorite songs
by such illustrious songwriters as Lucinda Williams, Buddy
and Julie Miller, Gillian Welch, M Ward, Richard Thompson,
Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, Little Village, Hank Williams,
Sandrine, Carrie's aunt Eva Garza and her father, David Rodriguez.
The album showcases Carrie's band - Hans Holzen (guitars),
Kyle Kegerrels (bass) and Eric Platz (drums, percussion)
- along with guests Greg Leisz, Aoife O'Donovan, Buddy Miller,
Bill Frisell and Doug Wamble. It was engineered by Jason
Lehning at Opus Studio and Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, Ca.
"...simply an understated triumph.
Grade: A " - Glide Magazine (Jun
“Carrie Rodriguez proves herself an astute interpreter
of other people's material via her latest - and best album
to date.” - Lee Zimmerman/BLURT (April
“...a case of the right album
at the right time.” - Village
“...her latest absolutely floored me. It’s a
dozen covers so skillfully done that some of the original
artists might be tempted to enter the witness protection
program. If this isn’t her breakthrough album
there’s no justice!” -
Phoenix Brown & Lars Vigo/Off-Center Views (May
“This is an album that you do not want to miss.”
- NoDepression.net (02/04/10)
“Cover albums by artists known for writing their
own material can be double-edged swords. It's a tricky
balance to put your own stamp on material that others
have created without losing the original's unique qualities.
Singer/songwriter Rodriguez gets it right, though... Lee
Townsend's classy production and veteran players such
as pedal/lap steel master Greg Leisz , along with Bill
Frisell, keep the sound fresh and vibrant.... Love
and Circumstance is beautifully conceived and passionately
performed.” - by Hal Horowitz, All Music
“Albums of cover songs are curious things. An artist
can often reveal more in the choice and interpretation
of someone else's song than in an original composition
-- a fact that comes to light in brilliant effect with Love
and Circumstance, the new album from Carrie Rodriguez.
Highly recommended.” - Direct Current
“I’ve really pretty much had it
with covers records — but even I have
to admit that not all of them are created equal,
and very, very few of them boast pedigrees as stellar
as Carrie Rodriguez’s Love and Circumstance...
The result is a collection that does a wonderful
job of paying tribute to some of roots rock’s
leading lights. The band is marvelous, as you’d
expect, and Rodriguez’s vocals have the sweetness
and fine texture of dark honey. In fact, she damn
near makes these songs her own... the ever-so-slightly
burred edges of her voice hint at a spiritual depth
beyond her 32 years, and musically, Love and
Circumstance has more to offer than your typical
covers project. - Jeff Giles, CD Review
Carrie Rodriguez doesn’t just cover the love songs
in her fourth album, she inhabits them. Rodriguez’s
voice is arresting whether she’s slowing down Lucinda
Williams’s “Steal Your Love,” giving
a fresh interpretation to Richard Thompson’s “Waltzing’s
for Dreamers,” or belting it out on “Big Love” (Little
Village). This is masterful musicianship, with primacy
given to the guitars, which blend beautifully yet inhabit
different spaces within the songs, so that the character
of each—tremolo, acoustic, electric, tenor—shines.
There are lovely touches on every cut ... A stunner.
(Ninth Street Opus) - Celine Keating, Acoustic
Rodriguez and Ben Kyle – We Still Love Our
singer Carrie Rodriguez collaborates with Ben Kyle, the lead singer
from the Minneapolis band, Romantica, on versions of their favorite
country songs, including “If I Needed You”, “You’re
Still On My Mind”, “Unwed Fathers”, “My
Baby’s Gone” and “Love Hurts”. With
Hans Holzen (guitars), Luke Jacobs (pedal steel), Kyle Kegerreis
(bass) and Ricky Fataar (drums, percussion). Engineered by
David Luke and Produced by Carrie and Ben with Lee Townsend.
Trailer – The Great Flood
Frisell's Live Monthly Download Series
shows available to the public! Back in November of
2008, Songtone introduced the Bill Frisell Live Download Series. This
is a bi-monthly release of select live performance recordings
from the soundboard. The shows are exclusively available
here and will be made available in the lossless FLAC format along
with MP3 and AAC files. Each performance download includes
image files for the CD label, cover art and tray insert which
also print onto the Neato Label format. Some performances
may include extra images or video clips depending on the live
performance itself. Due to Frisell’s diverse groups
this is a unique way to access his music which might otherwise
never see a CD release. Click HERE for samples. Enjoy!
One of the biggest problems facing contemporary jazz
musicians is that they often have far more projects on the
go than could ever be recorded and released commercially by
conventional record labels—even small and relatively
responsive indie labels. Special projects abound, or personnel
changes for a tour are forced when members of a regular group
are unavailable, the plight of the 21st century working musician
being how to remain viable and available. Of course, it's not
necessarily a problem, because regardless of the reason, it
means that today's leader ends up touring in more combinations
than could ever be documented through normal channels—and
some of these special, one-time/one-tour projects yield tremendous
gold—even leading to further collaboration. If only there
was a way the pathological fan could hear all of it.
Fans of sonic guitar sculptor Bill Frisell can rejoice, as
the Live Download Series is making available a growing catalog
of high quality soundboard recordings of performances by groups
that have been documented on commercial albums, like the guitarist's
first quartet, with cellist Hank Roberts , bassist Kermit Driscoll
and drummer Joey Baron; the sextet responsible for one of Frisell's
compositional high water marks, This Land (Elektra/Nonesuch,
1994); and his early 21st century trio, with bassist Tony Scherr
and drummer Kenny Wollesen. But as thrilling as it is to hear
a 1989 performance by Frisell and his quartet, performing music
from Rambler (ECM, 1984), Lookout for Hope (ECM, 1988) and
Before We Were Born (Elektra/Nonesuch, 1989), it's even more
exciting to find the hidden gems—previously unrecorded
groups like Frisell's trio with organist Sam Yahel and drummer
Brian Blade ; or very limited-run tours like a 2005 performance
from London, England's The Barbican, where Frisell, violinist
Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Greg Liesz delivered a stunning
tribute to The Beatles' John Lennon.
To read this complete review from All About Jazz click
Click here for song
samples and more info.