Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I saw an amazing show last night: guitar wizard Bill Frisell, playing with violinist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston. Frisell masterfully led the trio through an incredible range of music, touching upon folk, jazz, country, avant garde, classical, soul, surf, bluegrass, blues, and some unnamed music from an undiscovered planet accessible only to Frisell. The trio turned on a dime from be-bop and experimental composition to Americana such as "Shenandoah," all expertly played, switching gears effortlessly. One highlight among many was a heartbreaking version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" that turned into Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and had the house cheering.

It's easy to see why Bill Frisell was named Best Guitarist for the fourth year in a row (and seventh in 10 years) in the latest Downbeat Critics Poll, and a three time Downbeat Readers Poll winner for Best Guitarist. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, filmmakers and legendary musicians, a list that includes filmmaker Gus Van Sant, cartoonists Gary Larsen and Jim Woodring, and musicians ranging from Brian Eno to Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello to Norah Jones.

Bill Frisell has a brand new record out called "History, Mystery," a two disc record, one of which was composed for a multimedia collaboration - Mysterio Sympatico - with artist Jim Woodring, whose work has graced Frisell's albums. Also includes compositions by Thelonius Monk, Lee Konitz, and Sam Cooke, including the aforementioned "A Change is Gonna Come."

Do yourself a favor. Listen to Bill Frisell.

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