on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 21 Mrz

Bill Frisell – a Musical Portrait

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 8 Comments



I just watched this fantastic documentary last night.  Director Emma Franz lets candid conversations and live footage tell the story in lieu of narration, revealing an artist who has never stood still, constantly reinventing himself yet, paradoxically, always sounding exactly like himself. It’s funny, surprising, occasionally dramatic, personable and engaging,  just like Bill’s music. A diverse group of great musicians from Bonnie Raitt and Paul Simon to John Zorn, Jim Hall, John Abercrombie and Michael Gibb talk about the universal appeal and influence of Bill’s music. Many of the people he plays with, such as Joey Baron, the late Paul Motian, Joe Lovano and Ron Carter, share stories and thoughts about their collaboration. What emerges is a portrait of one of the most dedicated players/composers alive, who also happens to be one of the nicest guys in the business. Essential viewing.

This film is available for purchase here:

It’s also available for viewing if you’re an Amazon Prime member. (It’s probably rentable as well.)


This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 21. März 2018 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    And a pure solo album has just been released.

    Now, memory lane: I think his first solo album on ECM was IN LINE, very impressionistic, Bill only with his discreet sounds, and on two pieces supported by, if memory doesn’t fool me, Arild Andersen on bass. Gavin Bryars once told me, he had used music from that album on his in-ear speakers to overcome a bit of nervousness on the beginning of airflights …

  2. Brian Whistler:

    Funny, I just listened to In Line this morning, for the first time in many years. Still sounds fresh. As for the new album, I have it and it’s also a fine solo album, his first solo album on an official label release since Ghost Town, although he has a couple of solo things available on his site that he has put together “off label.” Can’t get enough Bill!

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Well, my favourite Bill Frisell album is UNSPEAKABLE.

    He definitely has his style, but adopting other personas he sounds very different from his adventure/discovery/comfort- zones, for example as part of John Zorn‘s Naked City or in the band of Lucinda Williams on her penultimate release, a double album.

  4. Christoph Bledowski:

    With regard to his (recent) collaborations with John Zorn I would like to mention his unique guitar play together with Carol Emanuel (harps) and Kenny Wollesen (vibes) on e.g. „The Gnostic Preludes“ or „The Mockingbird“. Simple beautiful.


  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I think Bill Frisell can travel all around America, and everywhere‘s a studio waiting for him.

    Impressive, too, his playing on Ron Miles‘ last album, recorded at Ron‘s home. A great group effort of like-minded spirits …

  6. Brian Whistler:

    Also, I got to see him backing up the young neo-Appalachian singer Sam Ambidon last year. What a great show! Bill played right around the edges of it all, making it come together beautifully.

  7. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ah, Mr. Bledowski, the man who turned my eye, my ears, to King Crimson‘s LARK TONGUES-album!! :) WHAT A FANTASTIC ALBUM.

    Anoher deep listenung was AFTER THE REQUIEM by Gavin Bryars, with, I think, Bill Frisell on guitar …

  8. Christoph Bledowski:

    one more thing


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