Bill Frisell
Live Download Series


Bill Frisell
Solos DVD


Jim Hall & Bill Frisell
Hemispheres
 
         
         
 
         
 

Floratone
Floratone



Bill Frisell
History, Mystery
(Grammy Nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Album)


All Hat
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Bill Frisell
 
         


- Updated 1-15-08

- Updated 1-15-08


Current Projects
Lee is currently in production on two recording projects:

Blame Sally, the great San Francisco-based band featuring the four singers/instrumentalists Renee Harcourt, Monica Pasqual, Jeri Jones and Pam Delgado, at C-Change Studio in Berkeley with Adam Muñoz and Shawn Pierce
engineering.

Bill Frisell's Disfarmer project which features Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinman and Viktor Krauss with Tucker Martine engineering at Avast 2 in Seattle, Sound Emporium in Nashville and Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.

Both are planned for release in 2009.


Bill Frisell "History, Mystery" (Grammy Nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Album)
On his new album, Bill Frisell explores a fuller palette of orchestral colors and timbres than any he has previously written for. "History, Mystery" features an Octet of strings, horns and rhythm section with some of his closest collaborators - Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang, (viola), Hank Roberts (cello), Ron Miles (cornet), Greg Tardy (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Tony Scherr (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums).  Employing a symphonic sensibility of recurring thematic elements, "History, Mystery" premieres many new Frisell compositions as well as a few of his arrangements of favorite pieces by other songwriters.  Producer Lee Townsend and engineer Shawn Pierce recorded the group in various combinations and contexts, live and in the studio, to construct and shape the album.

"Some artists, as they grow older, have a tendency to retreat into a safety zone that displays their skill but doesn't expand their repertoire or provide impetus for keeping up. Not so guitarist Bill Frisell ... [H]e's been refining and expanding his palette with every release.... The whole album stands as yet another testament to the man's place at the very epicenter of modern American music. Yes, he's done it again." - Chris Jones, BBC.

The Guardian, in a four-star review of History, Mystery, says the album is "studded with gems," featuring a line-up of musicians that reviewer John L. Waters calls "a kind of roots-jazz-classical chamber hybrid, though with none of the hang-ups that might imply." Waters sees "a genuine thoughtfulness" from Bill, who, he writes, "has the surest touch as a musician." It is an attribute "that is true for his playing, where he can invest a single note with meaning, and it's true in the way he organizes his music and musicians."

The Independent calls History, Mystery the Jazz Album of the Week, with the paper's Tim Cumming calling it "extraordinarily eclectic" delivered in "an all but seamless suite that's full of musical contrasts, rich textures, lengthening shadows, and unexpected turns." Cumming says "it's consistently engaging" with a closing guitar solo that's "just wonderful." His colleague Nick Coleman adds that on this collection, listeners will find the "Frisell who makes great soundtrack music; the one who rejoices in sieving the Hot Club de Paris out of Thelonious Monk."

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) “I've always admired (Frisell’s) spirit of adventure, his willingness to experiment and the depth of his talent and ambition... There's something about History, Mystery that just sucked me in right away..... It's artful, but warm and accessible. There are smatterings of jazz, blues, a little country, some tango and reverb rock ... but the seamless, natural-sounding integration of these diverse influences is engaging and often majestic.  The music has a spacious, cinematic scope that is enriched by a superb group of musicians... The sound is vintage and modern, warm and inviting.” - Ellis Widner



“All Hat”
Bill scored “All Hat”, a new film by Canadian director Leonard Farlinger and producer Jennifer Jonas, based on Brad Smith’s novel of the same name. It recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.  The film crosses genres – part comedy, part cowboy, part horse racing, part con-job – and features Luke Kirby, Keith Carradine, Lisa Ray, Rachel Leigh Cook and Ernie Hudson.   Bill recorded the score with a group musicians including Greg Leisz (steel guitars and mandolin), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Viktor Krauss (bass), Scott Amendola (drums) and Mark Graham (harmonica).  The music was produced by Lee Townsend and engineered by Shawn Pierce.  The fil
m is scheduled for release in 2008.

“This original score for Canadian film maker Leonard Farlinger's All Hat sees Frisell accompanied by familiar associates.... not for nothing does All Hat sound like a proper group outing.

Frisell has always been able to mine the simplest tune and extract unexpected riches; the main theme, for example, is visited four times and yet sounds radically different each time, going from the beautiful acoustic guitar version with shuffling drum beat and Scheinman's train-rhythm violin, to a Johnny Cash-style chug-along romp, to a most graceful Southern waltz.

There are thirty one pieces ranging from thirty seconds to four minutes long, but there is a powerful continuity about this score. Frisell's music is often pictorial, and these sixty minutes are like an uninterrupted journey through changing landscapes, as sun and moon slowly chase each other's tails. One can easily imagine the wide plains and prairies, fields of wheat and small, nondescript towns either side of endless, straight highway. It's not all pastoral reverie however, and there are several interludes where Frisell's dark guitar-distortion rumbles, brooding and foreboding, like storm-heavy skies.

In many ways Frisell is ideally suited to cinema composition as it is remarkable how much he can weave in one minute, seemingly without breaking sweat....  On All Hat the music rocks and grinds at times, burns slowly at others, and melts into the sunset, accompanied by Frisell's loops and ringing single note lines.

Producer Lee Townsend (as much a part of the Frisell posse as any of the musicians) has, as ever, done a beautiful job with this wonderful soundtrack, music which is outstanding in and of itself..... All hats off to Frisell.”

Ian Patterson, All About Jazz


Floratone
Floratone is a studio-intensive collaborative project with drummer Matt Chamberlain, Bill Frisellproducers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine featuring deep grooves, glistening melodies, ambient atmospheres and rich sonic textures. String and horn colors are provided courtesy of special guests Viktor Krauss, Ron Miles and Eyvind Kang. It is released on Blue Note Records. Check out Floratone.com for more information.

 

REVIEWS

Most Innovative recording of 2007: "They shaped this record that's really not a jazz record at all. It's really this swamp language that I found incredibly interesting and beautiful and very different." -- Tom Moon, 2007: The Year in Review from All Songs Considered

“Taking a page from the Miles Davis/Teo Macero playbook, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Matt Chamberlain teamed up with longtime production pals  Martine and Townsend to create this studio-collaged musical masterpiece  - but Floratone doesn't sound anything like Bitches Brew or In a Silent Way....  The 11 compositions flow one into another like segments of a steady-moving river - in turns brooding, swampy, choppy, effervescent, and translucent. Chamberlain's tasteful grooves and accents provide the deepwater impetus, while Frisell's soulful vamps, plucky palm-mutes, shimmering harmonics, textural twang, and spacey atmospherics weave together into so many currents and undercurrents, as the horn and string lines glide majestically over the surface.  As intriguing as it is enjoyable, Floratone is easily one of the best records of 2007.”  Guitar Player

“Call it Ambient Americana Sound Sculpting ... The music on Floratone is largely based around Chamberlain’s behind-the-beat grooves and Frisell’s left-of-center blues-drenched chords and phrases...  it’s  not about soloing per se; rather it’s about collective interpretation, exploring all possible nuances.

Floratone shares much, in fact, with Teo Macero’s collage-like approach to sculpting In a Silent Way, though with modern digital editing the integration is so seamless that it’s often impossible to differentiate between live performance and studio construction. Not that it matters. The greatest success of Floratone is how organic, how natural the music sounds, the considerable  technology behind it notwithstanding. Despite all the electronic textures used from conception to final realization, it’s a distinctive, extremely appealing and visual collection of sonic landscapes.

There are those who believe that democratic/leaderless projects  are inherently doomed to failure. Floratone is a modern  masterpiece—a completely equitable collaboration between Frisell, Chamberlain, Townsend and Martine—that lays such claims to  waste.”    John Kelman,  All About Jazz


“This is some of the most vital and exciting guitar work Bill Frisell has ever committed to tape.... Listening to these unlikely swirls of sound is almost like the beginnings of some exotic new language, rising like steam from a swamp.  They're like nothing  else..... it's some of the most riveting instrumental  music to emerge this year.”  Tom Moon, NPR’s All Things Considered

"The fine-tuned soundscapes maintain a satisfyingly hypnotic menace."  UK Financial Times

“A soundscape bonanza infused with a melange of jazz, country, dub reggae, funk, rock and ambient music.”  Dan Ouellette, Billboard

Viktor Krauss II
Lee produced the bold and multi-faceted "Viktor Krauss II" by the astonishingly talented composer and multi-instrumentalist. The core band includes legendary L.A. guitarist Dean Parks and Matt Chamberlain on drums, percussion and electronics. Guests include vocalists Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Ben Taylor and Shweta Jhaveri. Released on the Back Porch/EMI label, Bass Player calls it "melodic minimalism at its best".

"The sideman with the sense of humor checks in with another set that¹s hard to classify. Falling somewhere between industrial folk and a soundtrack for an unproduced David Lynch pic, this is an adventurous date for those that like their instrumental prowess on the money and their listening on the edge."  Midwest Record


“Stories from the Heart of the Land”
Bill composed the music for a five-hour series for NPR entitled “Stories from the Heart of the Land”, produced by Atlantic Public Media and curated by Jay Allison and Emily Botein.   The music was performed by his 858 quartet featuring Frisell on guitar, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola and Hank Roberts on cello.  It was produced by Lee Townsend and engineered by Shawn Pierce.


Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez
Lee recently worked with singers and songwriters Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez to produce an album of material from their special 2005 engagement for the “Century of Song” program at the Ruhr Triennale Arts Festival in Germany where Bill Frisell was the music director.  Chip and Carrie perform with Bill, Greg Leisz, David Piltch and Kenny Wollesen with a special guest appearance by Buddy Miller on one song.  The record has been released on Train Wreck Records.



Jonah Smith
Lee produced the new CD by the fine young singer-songwriter Jonah Smith with his stellar band of David Soler, Ben Rubin, Marko Djordjevic and Bob Reynolds along with special guests, Carrie Rodriguez, Garth Hudson and Bill Frisell. It was engineered by Adam Munoz, mastered by Greg Calbi and is just out on Relix Records.

"You don't find much rock that features the Fender Rhodes electric piano these days, but its warm, ringing sound is perfect for Mr. Smith's easygoing, soulful music, which calls to mind J.J. Cale, early Van Morrison and Ben Harper. As a vocalist, he's got a nasal twang that doesn't quite correspond to his Brooklyn, N.Y., home address. But it works on his lovely, comfortable ballads "Stay Awhile" and "Little Black Angels," as well as his head-bobbing, up-tempo tunes "My Morning Scene" and "When We Say Goodnight."
His lyrics have a sampler-like simplicity that makes them sound axiomatic, and his choruses seem to insist we sing along. Mr. Smith's band is an efficient unit that provides a gentle lilt -- guitarist David Soler's discreet performance is particularly affecting -- and his guests, including Bill Frisell on guitar, Garth Hudson on accordion and Carrie Rodriguez on vocal and fiddle, know what to do when called upon." - The Wall Street Journal

"The first virtue you notice about this fine new album, the inaugural release of Relix Records, is the immediacy of its appeal. "Little Black Angels," its opening track, starts out slow and funky, a bit like Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)." Then Jonah Smith's electric piano yields to his voice, which is as soulful and satisfying as a spoonful of Tupelo honey. The next virtue you notice is how well-made these songs are, how, for example, without trying too hard,the choruses of "Stay Awhile" and "Killing Time" amply deliver on the promises made by their understated verses.The melodies simultaneously sound fresh and intimately familiar. By the time you notice the evocative imagery in the lyrics ("climbing on the roof in your high-heeled shoes"), the sophistication that underlies the five-piece band's restraint, and the easy intelligence of the arrangements, it's clear that the album isn't going to run out of virtues any time soon. More than merely rewarding repeated listens, Jonah Smith seduces you into its world by means of sheer sonic pleasure. Only later do you come to understand the complex means of that seduction,and how masterfully they've been employed. And when you understand that, you know that Jonah Smith is a spellbinding talent whose time has arrived." Anthony DeCurtis - Relix

Crooked Still Shaken By A Low Sound
Lee produced "Shaken by a Low Sound", the new CD on the Signature Sounds label from the Boston-based band, Crooked Still featuring singer Aoife O'Donovan, banjo player Greg Liszt, cellist Rushad Eggleston and bass player Corey DiMario. The group freshly arranges and interprets traditional songs such as "Lone Pilgrim", "Little Sadie", "Railroad Bill", "Ain't No Grave", "Cumberland Gap" and "Wind and Rain" as well Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen", Bob Dylan's "Oxford Town" and Bill Monroe's "Can't You Hear Me Callin'". Guests include fiddler Casey Driessen, percussionist Scott Amendola and vocalist Laurie Lewis. It will be available on this site on July 20th.

"O’Donovan — Aoife O’Donovan. Remember that name, because with a sultry voice that makes her sound like a bluesier Alison Krauss, she’s about to become the newest darling of the Americana set. Also like Krauss, O’Donovan’s four-piece neo-folk outfit (which includes banjoist Gregory Liszt from Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions Band) creates refreshing rearrangements of familiar tunes. Grounded by double bass and cello, the year’s most descriptively titled album turns public-domain tunes into bluegrass and chamber folk. With those, plus thrillingly original takes on Bill Monroe’s Can’t You Hear Me Callin’ and Robert Johnson’s Come On in My Kitchen, Shaken is stirring." (* * * 1/2)  - Brian Mansfield, USA Today

Gabriela El Viaje
Lee co-produced with Tucker Martine "El Viaje", the new CD by the celebrated Argentine singer-songwriter Gabriela with guests Bill Frisell, Viktor Krauss, Eyvind Kang and Steve Moore. All of the material is by Gabriela except a distinctive interpretation of the well-known old Mexican folk song, "Cancion Mixteca". "El Viaje" will be released in Europe on the Intuition label in August and will be available on this site shortly.

"The new (and long-awaited) album from the wonderful Argentinian singer-songwriter is every bit as lovely as her previous work - dreamy, poetic, and full of emotion. Able support from Bill Frisell and an all-star band fills out the sound atmospherically, but the stage belongs to the voice and words of Gabriela. This is craft that's become art, gentle and beautiful." Chris Nickson, Global Village Idiot

Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul MotianBill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian
Lee has finished "Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian", Frisell's new trio record on to be released on August 29th on Nonesuch Records. It includes songs by each band member plus compositions by Thelonious Monk, Hank Williams and new Frisell arrangements of such traditional songs as "Pretty Polly" and "You are My Sunshine". James Farber engineered the recording with Greg Calbi mastering.

As a departure from his forays into twisted Americana and world music, the inventive guitarist delivers a bona-fide jazz album. The all-star threesome performs like a seasoned band, and Frisell remains the only six-string poet of his generation. - Steve Futterman, The New Yorker Best of 2006

"Guitarist Bill Frisell is a master of reflective, quiet but subtly quirky lines that flow from the lyrical to the angular. He can also sling arrows into the mix, but here in the company of two of jazz's greatest rhythm players, Frisell steers away from sudden blasts and settles into the fluidity of cliché-free improvisation. What's remarkable is how untethered the leader and trio play. Ron Carter steers with his unpredictable bass runs, countermelodies and motifs as Paul Motian flicks the cymbals in dance-like support while Frisell muses soulfully through pop standbys like Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "You Are My Sunshine," ironically sketched in a melancholic mood. It's significant that the trio delectably covers two Monk tunes ("Raise Four," "Misterioso") given that Frisell is the Thelonious of jazz guitar." —Dan Ouellette, Billboard

What, I've often wondered, sets Bill Frisell so far apart from the jazz-guitar pack -- besides his inimitable watery tone, sonic escapades, genre-hopping and depth of melodic and harmonic ingenuity? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is quite simple: Frisell brings far more emotion and mood to his playing than his contemporaries and most of his forebears....
While last year's double live set displayed the many sides of his eclectic musical personality, this one hews closer to jazz, albeit through Frisell's fisheye lens.... Motian's loosey-goosey drumming provides the trio plenty of room to roam, while Carter's bass brings a distinct muscularity. Frisell judiciously sprinkles in loops and effects, which easily transcend gimmickry; his phrasing is at turns fluid, contemplative and bracingly choppy. Frisell's playing is devoid of stuntwork, all but free of showiness -- this is a musician of the highest order whose instrument happens to be the guitar. 4 stars -- Eric Snider, CreativeLoafing.com

=

Bill Frisell's Monthly Download Series
Songtone is pleased to announce what many of Bill’s fans have wanted for years! Live shows available to the public! This is a monthly release of live recordings from the console by Bill’s great long-time sound engineer, Claudia Engelhart.  The shows will be exclusively available here and will be made available in uncompressed FLAC files along with MP3 and AAC files.

001 Live at Ruhr Triennale Festival, Bochum, Germany 5/22/04
002 Live at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA 3/16/07
003 Live at Noe Valley Ministry, San Francisco, CA 2/5/05

004 Live at Jazz Gallery, New York, NY 5/1/04

Click here for song samples and more info.

 
 

Bill Frisell "Solos" DVD now available exclusively from billfrisell.com and songtone.com
Bill's 2004 solo session from the atmospheric Berkeley Church in Toronto is now available for the first time on DVD. Beautifully shot by Director Daniel Berman, it includes such beloved original compositions as "Keep Your Eyes Open", "Throughout", "Ron Carter", "Boubacar" and "Poem For Eva" as well as songs by other composers that have long been associated with Bill's most powerful performances like "Shenandoah", "Wildwood Flower", "I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry", "Masters Of War" and "My Man's Gone Now". As such, it can be viewed as a definitive Frisell solo statement. Click here for more info.

 
 

Jim Hall / Bill Frisell "Hemispheres"
Bill Frisell has joined together with one of his musical mentors, the legendary guitarist Jim Hall, to record "Hemispheres", a double CD on the Artist Share label for release in late November, 2008. One CD showcases Bill and Jim's duo collaboration while the other disc features a quartet with Scott Colley on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Click here for more info.

 

 

Bill Frisell "History, Mystery" (Grammy Nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Album)
On his new album, Bill Frisell explores a fuller palette of orchestral colors and timbres than any he has previously written for. "History, Mystery" features an Octet of strings, horns and rhythm section with some of his closest collaborators - Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang, (viola), Hank Roberts (cello), Ron Miles (cornet), Greg Tardy (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Tony Scherr (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums).  Employing a symphonic sensibility of recurring thematic elements, "History, Mystery" premieres many new Frisell compositions as well as a few of his arrangements of favorite pieces by other songwriters.  Producer Lee Townsend and engineer Shawn Pierce recorded the group in various combinations and contexts, live and in the studio, to construct and shape the album.

"Some artists, as they grow older, have a tendency to retreat into a safety zone that displays their skill but doesn't expand their repertoire or provide impetus for keeping up. Not so guitarist Bill Frisell ... [H]e's been refining and expanding his palette with every release.... The whole album stands as yet another testament to the man's place at the very epicenter of modern American music. Yes, he's done it again." - Chris Jones, BBC.

The Guardian, in a four-star review of History, Mystery, says the album is "studded with gems," featuring a line-up of musicians that reviewer John L. Waters calls "a kind of roots-jazz-classical chamber hybrid, though with none of the hang-ups that might imply." Waters sees "a genuine thoughtfulness" from Bill, who, he writes, "has the surest touch as a musician." It is an attribute "that is true for his playing, where he can invest a single note with meaning, and it's true in the way he organizes his music and musicians."

The Independent calls History, Mystery the Jazz Album of the Week, with the paper's Tim Cumming calling it "extraordinarily eclectic" delivered in "an all but seamless suite that's full of musical contrasts, rich textures, lengthening shadows, and unexpected turns." Cumming says "it's consistently engaging" with a closing guitar solo that's "just wonderful." His colleague Nick Coleman adds that on this collection, listeners will find the "Frisell who makes great soundtrack music; the one who rejoices in sieving the Hot Club de Paris out of Thelonious Monk."

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) “I've always admired (Frisell’s) spirit of adventure, his willingness to experiment and the depth of his talent and ambition... There's something about History, Mystery that just sucked me in right away..... It's artful, but warm and accessible. There are smatterings of jazz, blues, a little country, some tango and reverb rock ... but the seamless, natural-sounding integration of these diverse influences is engaging and often majestic.  The music has a spacious, cinematic scope that is enriched by a superb group of musicians... The sound is vintage and modern, warm and inviting.” - Ellis Widner

“All Hat”
Bill scored “All Hat”, a new film by Canadian director Leonard Farlinger and producer Jennifer Jonas, based on Brad Smith’s novel of the same name. It recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.  The film crosses genres – part comedy, part cowboy, part horse racing, part con-job – and features Luke Kirby, Keith Carradine, Lisa Ray, Rachel Leigh Cook and Ernie Hudson.   Bill recorded the score with a group musicians including Greg Leisz (steel guitars and mandolin), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Viktor Krauss (bass), Scott Amendola (drums) and Mark Graham (harmonica).  The music was produced by Lee Townsend and engineered by Shawn Pierce.  The fil
m is scheduled for release in 2008.

“This original score for Canadian film maker Leonard Farlinger's All Hat sees Frisell accompanied by familiar associates.... not for nothing does All Hat sound like a proper group outing.

Frisell has always been able to mine the simplest tune and extract unexpected riches; the main theme, for example, is visited four times and yet sounds radically different each time, going from the beautiful acoustic guitar version with shuffling drum beat and Scheinman's train-rhythm violin, to a Johnny Cash-style chug-along romp, to a most graceful Southern waltz.

There are thirty one pieces ranging from thirty seconds to four minutes long, but there is a powerful continuity about this score. Frisell's music is often pictorial, and these sixty minutes are like an uninterrupted journey through changing landscapes, as sun and moon slowly chase each other's tails. One can easily imagine the wide plains and prairies, fields of wheat and small, nondescript towns either side of endless, straight highway. It's not all pastoral reverie however, and there are several interludes where Frisell's dark guitar-distortion rumbles, brooding and foreboding, like storm-heavy skies.

In many ways Frisell is ideally suited to cinema composition as it is remarkable how much he can weave in one minute, seemingly without breaking sweat....  On All Hat the music rocks and grinds at times, burns slowly at others, and melts into the sunset, accompanied by Frisell's loops and ringing single note lines.

Producer Lee Townsend (as much a part of the Frisell posse as any of the musicians) has, as ever, done a beautiful job with this wonderful soundtrack, music which is outstanding in and of itself..... All hats off to Frisell.”

Ian Patterson, All About Jazz


Songtone is offering six black and white portraits of Bill Frisell - archival sliver gelatin prints on fiber based paper printed to museum standards by Michael Wilson.  The color portrait is a "giclee" print which is a very high resolution ink-jet print on 100% rag art paper using archival pigmented inks.  All prints are available in two sizes.

Michael’s celebrated work is reflected in an extensive list of illustrious musicians as subjects as well as a series of beautifully conceived books.


About the Photographer:

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959, Michael Wilson has lived there ever since. Over the years, he has developed a singular approach to portraiture with a distinctive group of subjects that includes such musicians as B.B. King, Randy Newman, Bill Frisell, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Phillip Glass, Emmy Lou Harris, Doc Watson, Richard Thompson, The Neville Brothers, Dawn Upshaw, Leo Kottke, Viktor Krauss, Loudon Wainwright III, Clarence "Gatemouth” Brown, Paolo Conte, Danny Elfman, Waylon Jennings, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Willie Green, Buddie Miller, Kelly Joe Phelps, Frederic Rzewski, David Sanborn and many others.

In 1985, Wilson published his first book of photographs and writing entitled, "Heads Bowed Eyes Closed, No One Looking Around".  In 1999, "First Kind Sight" was published.

In describing his artistic journey, Michael says, "A providential conspiracy seems to have been at work in the convergence of friends and events that led me to photography and to the college in Kentucky where I wound up studying photography. This is where I came to love pictures."

DisfarmerMusical Portraits from Heber Springs: Bill Frisell¹s Disfarmer Project
In the small mountain town of Heber Springs, the Arkansas artist known as Disfarmer captured the lives and emotions of the people of rural America between 1939-1945. Critics have hailed Disfarmer's remarkable black and white portraits as "a work of artistic genius" and "a classical episode in the history of American photography.Disfarmer's work has captivated the imagination of the celebrated guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, who has been inspired to write and perform music in concert with multiple projected images from this treasure trove of period portraits. Two long-time musical collaborators, violinist Jenny Scheinman and steel guitarist Greg Leisz, will share the stage in interpreting Frisell's music. Set and lighting designer Alex Nichols is on board to spearhead the visual treatments of the program.

This piece was premiered at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in March, '08. Tours will follow in Fall, "07 and Spring..


“Stories from the Heart of the Land”
Bill composed the music for a five-hour series for NPR entitled “Stories from the Heart of the Land”, produced by Atlantic Public Media and curated by Jay Allison and Emily Botein.   The music was performed by his 858 quartet featuring Frisell on guitar, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola and Hank Roberts on cello.  It was produced by Lee Townsend and engineered by Shawn Pierce.


 

Floratone
Floratone is a studio-intensive collaborative project with drummer Matt Chamberlain and producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine featuring deep grooves, glistening melodies, ambient atmospheres and rich sonic textures. String and horn colors are provided courtesy of special guests Viktor Krauss, Ron Miles and Eyvind Kang. It is released on Blue Note Records.
Check out Floratone.com for more information.

 

REVIEWS

Most Innovative recording of 2007: "They shaped this record that's really not a jazz record at all. It's really this swamp language that I found incredibly interesting and beautiful and very different." -- Tom Moon, 2007: The Year in Review from All Songs Considered

“Taking a page from the Miles Davis/Teo Macero playbook, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Matt Chamberlain teamed up with longtime production pals  Martine and Townsend to create this studio-collaged musical masterpiece  - but Floratone doesn't sound anything like Bitches Brew or In a Silent Way....  The 11 compositions flow one into another like segments of a steady-moving river - in turns brooding, swampy, choppy, effervescent, and translucent. Chamberlain's tasteful grooves and accents provide the deepwater impetus, while Frisell's soulful vamps, plucky palm-mutes, shimmering harmonics, textural twang, and spacey atmospherics weave together into so many currents and undercurrents, as the horn and string lines glide majestically over the surface.  As intriguing as it is enjoyable, Floratone is easily one of the best records of 2007.”  Guitar Player

“Call it Ambient Americana Sound Sculpting ... The music on Floratone is largely based around Chamberlain’s behind-the-beat grooves and Frisell’s left-of-center blues-drenched chords and phrases...  it’s  not about soloing per se; rather it’s about collective interpretation, exploring all possible nuances.

Floratone shares much, in fact, with Teo Macero’s collage-like approach to sculpting In a Silent Way, though with modern digital editing the integration is so seamless that it’s often impossible to differentiate between live performance and studio construction. Not that it matters. The greatest success of Floratone is how organic, how natural the music sounds, the considerable  technology behind it notwithstanding. Despite all the electronic textures used from conception to final realization, it’s a distinctive, extremely appealing and visual collection of sonic landscapes.

There are those who believe that democratic/leaderless projects  are inherently doomed to failure. Floratone is a modern  masterpiece—a completely equitable collaboration between Frisell, Chamberlain, Townsend and Martine—that lays such claims to  waste.”    John Kelman,  All About Jazz

“This is some of the most vital and exciting guitar work Bill Frisell has ever committed to tape.... Listening to these unlikely swirls of sound is almost like the beginnings of some exotic new language, rising like steam from a swamp.  They're like nothing  else..... it's some of the most riveting instrumental  music to emerge this year.”  Tom Moon, NPR’s All Things Considered

"The fine-tuned soundscapes maintain a satisfyingly hypnotic menace."  UK Financial Times

“A soundscape bonanza infused with a melange of jazz, country, dub reggae, funk, rock and ambient music.”  Dan Ouellette, Billboard


Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian
Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul MotianLee has finished "Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian", Frisell's new trio record on to be released on August 29th on Nonesuch Records. It includes songs by each band member plus compositions by Thelonious Monk, Hank Williams and new Frisell arrangements of such traditional songs as "Pretty Polly" and "You are My Sunshine". James Farber engineered the recording with Greg Calbi mastering.

As a departure from his forays into twisted Americana and world music, the inventive guitarist delivers a bona-fide jazz album. The all-star threesome performs like a seasoned band, and Frisell remains the only six-string poet of his generation. - Steve Futterman, The New Yorker Best of 2006"Guitarist Bill Frisell is a master of reflective, quiet but subtly quirky lines that flow from the lyrical to the angular. He can also sling arrows into the mix, but here in the company of two of jazz's greatest rhythm players, Frisell steers away from sudden blasts and settles into the fluidity of cliché-free improvisation. What's remarkable is how untethered the leader and trio play. Ron Carter steers with his unpredictable bass runs, countermelodies and motifs as Paul Motian flicks the cymbals in dance-like support while Frisell muses soulfully through pop standbys like Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "You Are My Sunshine," ironically sketched in a melancholic mood. It's significant that the trio delectably covers two Monk tunes ("Raise Four," "Misterioso") given that Frisell is the Thelonious of jazz guitar." —Dan Ouellette, Billboard

What, I've often wondered, sets Bill Frisell so far apart from the jazz-guitar pack -- besides his inimitable watery tone, sonic escapades, genre-hopping and depth of melodic and harmonic ingenuity? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is quite simple: Frisell brings far more emotion and mood to his playing than his contemporaries and most of his forebears....
While last year's double live set displayed the many sides of his eclectic musical personality, this one hews closer to jazz, albeit through Frisell's fisheye lens.... Motian's loosey-goosey drumming provides the trio plenty of room to roam, while Carter's bass brings a distinct muscularity. Frisell judiciously sprinkles in loops and effects, which easily transcend gimmickry; his phrasing is at turns fluid, contemplative and bracingly choppy. Frisell's playing is devoid of stuntwork, all but free of showiness -- this is a musician of the highest order whose instrument happens to be the guitar. 4 stars -- Eric Snider, CreativeLoafing.com

 


Live Performances:

In December, Bill will make a special guest appearances with Jason Moran at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Friday the 12th) and McCoy Tyner at the Blue Note in New York (Saturday the 13th).

In January, Bill will play the Blue Note in New York with Ron Carter and Paul Motian. This engagement is a rare opportunity to experience the live performances of the trio represented on his recent Nonesuch release.

Also in January, Bill will be appearing with the Brazilian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vinicius Cantuaria in a special concert to be presented in Porto, Portugal.

See Bill's tour page for details.


Special Guest Appearances:

Bill also appears on these recent releases:

McCoy Tyner "Guitars" on Half Note Records.

Lucinda Williams' "West" on Lost Highway Records.

Paul Simon¹s "Surprise", produced in collaboration with Brian Eno, on Warner Bros. Records.

Renee Fleming's recording, "Haunted Heart", an album of ballads, standards and popular songs which also features pianist Fred Hersch on the Decca label.

T-Bone Burnett's soundtrack for the recent film on Johnny Cash, "Walk the Line" along with Marc Ribot and Jim Keltner.

Loudon Wainwright III's "Recovery" on Yep Roc Records and "Here Come the Choppers" on Sovereign Artists which also features Greg Leisz, David Piltch and Jim Keltner on the Sovereign Artists label.

Hal Willner's "Rogue's Gallery - Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys" along with Bono, Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, Loudon Wainwright III, Baby Gramps, Bryan Ferry, Rufus Wainwright, Joseph Arthur, Sting, Eliza Carthy, Van Dyke Parks, Jolie Holland, Lou Reed, Martin Carthy, Nick Cave, Robin Holcomb and others on the Anti label.

Carrie Rodriguez' "Seven Angels On a Bicycle" on the Back Porch/EMI label.

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez' "Live the Rurh Triennale" on Train Wreck Records.

Vic Chesnutt's "Ghetto Bells". It is on the New West label.

Viktor Krauss "II" on the Back Porch/EMI label.

Jakob Bro's "The Stars Are All New Songs" on Loveland Records.

Cuong Vu's ³It¹s Mostly Residual², on the ArtistShare label.