FEATURE > BILL FRISELL
Watch the following videos for a varied taste of Bill Frisell’s guitar wizardry.
A glimpse of Bill Frisell’s 858 Quartet play-
ing a wicked rendition of John
Coltrane’s brain-busting “ 26-2.”
Search term: Bill Frisell Quartet Live
at Jazz & Wine of Peace 2009 Part 2
Frisell accompanies Elvis Costello on
“If I Only had a Brain,” a song popularized
by The Wizard of Oz.
Search term: Bill Frisell and Elvis
Costello “If I Only had a Brain”
Frisell and jazz giant Jim Hall play
a duo version of Frisell’s hauntingly
beautiful ballad “Throughout” at the 1995
Umbria Jazz Festival.
Search term: Jim Hall-Bill Frisell
Duo – “Throughout”
two-note descending minor-third fig-
ure, just in a slower rhythm.
I’m not positive. I’m trying to remember. I
played some guitar when we recorded the
horns. But it also could have easily been
something that was there in the track that I
was reacting to when I wrote the horn part.
A Frisell fan might hear a track like
“Do You Have It?,” which on the sur-
face just sounds like a layered groove,
and not “get it” until he understands
the compositional process behind it. I
hope this doesn’t come off the wrong
way, but is an awareness of the com-
positional process integral to having
an appreciation of some of the tracks
on Floratone II How would “Do You
Have It?” hold up as a piece on its own
compared to your other works, if you
removed the compositional process
from the equation?
Wow … only time will tell. I have no
idea. I guess the hope is that in the end,
it’s just going to be music. It’s more about
the whole overall sound of the thing than
solos. Hopefully you don’t have to under-
stand where it comes from. Hopefully it’s
going to be good to listen to.
You typically juggle a mind-boggling
number of high-intensity projects
simultaneously. How do you keep it all
straight in your head?
The music itself is never a problem. It’s all
kind of swimming around in my head all
the time almost simultaneously. So when
I’m right there with the people I’m with,
it’s never a problem. If I’m really playing
it’s all coming from the same place. As
soon as I’m in the music, the music takes
over and everything is cool. Where I really
get stressed out is just preparing for when
I go out on these trips and I’m gonna
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