Categories :

Similar artists



Jazz - Released April 1, 1983 | ECM

This is the closest Bill Frisell has come to an actual solo album, though he is joined on half of the set by bass player Arild Andersen. Frisell's electric and acoustic guitars are multi-tracked throughout. The title piece uses light dissonances to especially shimmering and vibratory effect. IN LINE was produced by Manfred Eicher, whose customary pristine clarity makes an ideal setting for Frisell's subtly nuanced playing. Each of the nine pieces is distinct, but they also lend themselves to an over-arching feeling of connectedness. There is a real album identity to this work. Though quiet and meditative as both a guitarist and a composer, Frisell's style is broad enough to allow for a range of emotional settings--from introspective to celebratory. © TiVo

Jazz - Released April 29, 1985 | ECM

This relatively early set from Bill Frisell is a fine showcase for the utterly unique guitarist. Frisell has the ability to play nearly any extroverted style of music and his humor (check out the date's "Music I Heard") is rarely far below the surface. This particular quintet (with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, tuba player Bob Stewart, electric bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Paul Motian) is not exactly short of original personalities and their outing (featuring seven Frisell compositions) is one of the most lively of all the ones in the ECM catalog. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Contemporary Jazz - Released February 1, 1988 | ECM

Bill Frisell's early work even in its retrospectively rawest form holds all of the values that he has evinced through his entire career. Country and eastern sounds merge with a signature sky church electric approach that is unique unto only himself. Lookout for Hope brands Frisell as a visionary, a virtuoso, and a fusioneer of many sounds that set him far apart from labelmates Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, and Terje Rypdal. While both Frisell and Rypdal give giant kudos to Jimi Hendrix, there is a sense of peace and serenity that puts soulfulness on a different plane. Cellist Hank Roberts and bassist Kermit Driscoll have much to do with giving Frisell his head, weaving similar silver sounds in and through him. Then add Joey Baron's deft, precise, and colorful drumming to put the exclamation point on Frisell's new approach to improvised music. Where the haunting, ringing, rocking, strident sound of Hendrix is resurrected and modernized during the title selection, "Hang Dog" has the Afro-Asian minimalist resonance of Steve Reich accented in 7/8 time by Frisell's banjo. Nods to Ornette Coleman's puzzle-pieced surety on the peppy head arrangement of "The Animal Race" and the twangy, witty, cartoonish take of Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack" brands Frisell a true maverick and individualist. At its best, east and west merge someplace in between during the memorably beautiful overdubbed and echoing sounds on "Lonesome," while the slight yet sincere expectation evinced on "Animal Prints" is the seamless and alluring alchemy of natural, spiritual, and ethereal. With Lookout for Hope, Bill Frisell is not so much setting trends and fashion as he is establishing a fresh sound, utterly unique from all others, and laying a foundation for many things to come. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

Jazz - Released September 19, 1988 | ECM

Good representations of creative impulses. Not definitive, but a good point of reference. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

Jazz - Released March 24, 1989 | Nonesuch


Jazz - Released May 25, 1990 | Nonesuch

Recorded in 1989 while Frisell was still a member of Naked City, Is That You? finds the guitarist already trending away from that band's scattershot assault and toward the more pastoral leanings he would embrace in the upcoming decade. At its best, as on the title track, Frisell creates nostalgic but heartfelt melodies that have the sense of being a soundtrack to a bittersweet movie. Wayne Horvitz' "Yuba City" is also evocative and very much in keeping with his other work from around that time, all sumptuous melodic hooks overlaying somewhat clunky rhythms. There are other nice touches here and there (the charming "Rag," for instance), but too often the gauziness that is an inherent problem with much of Frisell's music comes to the fore. While his cover of "Chain of Fools" chugs along with some dopey panache, "The Days of Wine and Roses" threatens to evaporate into the mist altogether. Fans of his later work may welcome this approach and, indeed, consider it one of his most attractive attributes, but those listeners hoping to hear more of the bite and devil-may-care attitude shown in his work with Zorn may feel suffocated. © Brian Olewnick /TiVo

Jazz - Released October 11, 1991 | Nonesuch


Jazz - Released February 19, 1993 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Bill Frisell has long been one of the most unique guitarists around. Able to switch on a moment's notice from sounding like a Nashville studio player to heavy metal, several styles of jazz, and just pure noise, Frisell can get a remarkable variety of sounds and tones out of his instrument. This set features Frisell in a quintet with Don Byron (on clarinet and bass clarinet), Guy Klucevsek on accordion, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Joey Baron. To call the repertoire wide-ranging would be an understatement. In addition to eight melodies from Aaron Copland's Billy the Kid, Frisell and company explore (and often reinvent) pieces written by Charles Ives, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Madonna, Sonny Rollins, Stephen Foster, and John Phillip Sousa. This is one of the most inventive recordings of the 1990s and should delight most listeners from any genre. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Jazz - Released April 5, 1996 | Nonesuch

Guitarist Bill Frisell has become well-known for his eccentric and highly versatile style. Able to sound like Jim Hall, a heavy metal player, or a Nashville studio guitarist at a moment's notice, Frisell has created sounds on the guitar that have never been heard before. This CD uses a rather unusual instrumentation, a quartet comprised of Frisell, trumpeter Ron Miles, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and Eyvind Kang, who doubles on violin and tuba. Ten of the 13 Frisell originals on the release were originally written for films (including one for Gary Larson, "Tales from the Far Side," and one for a Buster Keaton movie "Convict 13"), and the resulting music is tightly arranged yet spontaneous, episodic, and sometimes a bit nutty, but also strangely logical. Whether it be the old-timey theme to "Dead Ranch," the blues in "Convict 13," a few somber ballads, or hints at early Duke Ellington (particularly by Miles' wah-wah trumpet), this is a continually interesting, offbeat set. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Jazz - Released April 14, 1997 | Nonesuch

The vague country elements long dwelling on the fringes of Bill Frisell's music rise to the forefront on Nashville, an exquisitely atmospheric collection recorded in Music City with the aid of dobro legend Jerry Douglas, Union Station members Adam Steffey and Ron Block, and Lyle Lovett & His Large Band's bassist Viktor Krauss. Produced by Wayne Horvitz, the record is both genuine and alien -- while played with real affection for the country form and without any avant posturing, its sound is original and distinct, a cinematic variation on C&W tenets. While primarily instrumental and comprised largely of Frisell originals, Nashville does welcome vocalist Robin Holcomb for a pair of more traditional numbers -- Hazel Dickens' "Will Jesus Wash the Bloodstains from Your Hands" and the Skeeter Davis hit "The End of the World" -- as well as a cover of Neil Young's "One of These Days." © Jason Ankeny /TiVo

Jazz - Released January 6, 1998 | Nonesuch

Drawing from all over the musical spectrum, Frisell selects drummer Jim Keltner (best known for his records with George Harrison, Eric Clapton and other rock stars) and bassist Viktor Krauss (a fixture in Lyle Lovett's country band), and comes up with an immensely likable, easy-grooving CD that defies one to put a label on it. If anything, Frisell leans toward a drawling country twang heavily indebted to Chet Atkins in his guitar work here, but there is a freewheeling jazz sensibility at work on every track. Keltner contributes the heavy rock element with his emphatic strokes, occasionally pushing Frisell in that direction on the title track and the lengthy "Lookout for Hope." Yet Keltner is also capable of surprising subtlety, and Krauss provides firm, unflashy underpinning. Above all, this is thoughtful, free-thinking, ear-friendly jamming that was recorded in bustling Burbank, CA. but sounds as if it was laid down in a relaxed cabin in the hills. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

Jazz - Released September 4, 1998 | Nonesuch

At first glance, the combination of pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Bill Frisell as a duo might not seem all that logical, particularly if one relies on stereotypes that only fit part of their music (i.e., Hersch is an introspective player in the Bill Evans vein, while Frisell is a sound-oriented guitarist influenced by rock). In reality, both Hersch and Frisell are well-rounded, versatile players who share an adventurous spirit and a strong musical curiosity. The nature of their collaboration is a bit of a surprise; rather than playing originals specifically written for the occasion, Hersch and Frisell simply decided to perform songs that they have enjoyed for many years but have rarely had a chance to record. Few sparks fly; most of the quiet duets are quite relaxed, and although perfectly suitable as high-quality background music, this encounter is a slight disappointment. Considering the two giants involved, one would expect something fresh and original to emerge when they explore such songs as "There Is No Greater Love," "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," "I Got Rhythm" and "What Is This Thing Called Love." A bit forgettable. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

Jazz - Released May 14, 1999 | Nonesuch

No doubt pleased with his countrified direction on Gone, Just Like a Train, Bill Frisell gives us a lot more of basically the same thing here -- only with expanded numbers in the ranks. Bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner return, now accompanied by Wayne Horvitz's understated organ and piano; Greg Leisz on an assortment of fretted instruments, including the Dobro, pedal steel guitar and mandolin; and on "Shenandoah," Ry Cooder's atmospheric guitars. The first tracks of Good Dog, Happy Man pick up right where Gone, Just Like a Train left off -- low-key, perhaps too low-key -- but tracks like "Big Shoe" and "Cadillac 1959" add a bit of swagger to the lope and "Poem for Eva" sports the best tune. Again, Frisell often captures a loose, evolutionary jamming quality in these sessions, playing the country accents off of his jazz sensibilities. Unlike its predecessor, though, you can't imagine this being recorded on a backwoods front porch, for there are some production tricks and distant-sounding electronic loops that give away its Burbank studio origins. Purists on either side of the jazz/country divide are hereby warned to back off so that the rest of us can enjoy this. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

Jazz - Released February 25, 2000 | Nonesuch

While Bill Frisell has released plenty of albums under his own name, this is his first true solo album -- the first on which he plays all of the instruments himself. These include electric and acoustic guitar, six-string banjo, and bass, as well as the occasional looped sample. To call the music he creates on this album "introspective" would be something of an understatement. This won't come as a complete surprise to his fans -- there has always been a gentle and meditative quality to his music, and even when he's gotten wild with his trio or with downtown pals like John Zorn or Vernon Reid, those moments of abrasive abandon have always seemed like detours from his more natural, but no less inventive and interesting, sweetness and good humor. But there's a darkness around the edges this time out that is unusual, as if he's lonely playing by himself and a little bit unnerved at the thoughts and feelings he's being forced to face on his own. His rendition of the A.P. Carter classic "Wildwood Flower" starts out with an extended Delta-blues introduction, which is a pretty unusual choice. There are other cover versions, including Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," both of which deeply explore the emotional wreckage described by the songs' lyrics; his own compositions, such as the vaguely surfy "Variation on a Theme" and the slightly ominous "Big Bob," seem to be cut out of similar cloth. There are moments of light relief, such as the gently lovely title track and the brief banjo interlude "Fingers Snappin' and Toes Tappin'," but the overall mood here is relatively dark, though consistently beautiful. © Rick Anderson /TiVo

Jazz - Released January 16, 2001 | Nonesuch

From the beginning of Blues Dream, the listener knows that something special is going on. The spare notes of Ron Miles' trumpet and the relaxed guitar work of Greg Leisz lay the groundwork for a spacious sound on the title cut. This openness remains throughout the album, even when alto and trombone are added into the mix. The instrumental "Ron Carter" begins with the loose, electrified feel of an early Miles Davis fusion piece, with Bill Frisell's distorted guitar exploring the space of the piece without resorting to excessive volume. The short and sweet "Pretty Stars Were Made to Shine" leans heavier on the country side, with steel guitar and Chet Atkins' fingerpicking dominating. The arrangements on Blues Dream are a big change from last year's solo effort, Ghost Town. An essential part of the overall sound is Leisz' steel guitar and lap steel work. He also played with Frisell on Good Dog, Happy Man, and helps to set the mood and pace throughout Blues Dream. Ron Miles plays a smaller role, but it is fascinating how well his relaxed trumpet, with its carefully chosen notes, fits into the mix on the title cut and the short "Episode." Blues Dream is a perfectly chosen title: the material, steeped in the blues, is approached in a lazy, dreamlike fashion. Frisell's fondness for putting unusual combinations of instruments together adds to the overall effect, leaving the listener to wonder why no one has ever tried this before. Blues Dream is a lovely release that should satisfy Frisell fans as well as jazz, country, and blues fans looking for a genre-bending experience. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo

Country - Released June 19, 2001 | Terminus Records


Jazz - Released October 2, 2001 | Nonesuch


Jazz - Released April 1, 2002 | Rhombus Records


Jazz - Released April 29, 2002 | ECM

Bill Frisell has made 14 sideman appearances on ECM but only three records as a leader on the label. His Rarum collection spans the 1980s, highlighting his earlier years. Paul Motian figures prominently in this story, as leader, composer, and sideman; "Mandeville," the leadoff track, is from 1981's Psalm, featuring Motian and Frisell with Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, and Ed Schuller. Two more Motian tracks follow, then Jan Garbarek's "Singsong," which finds Frisell wailing. Tracks five through 11 feature Frisell as leader and composer: First there's the title cut from his 1982 debut, In Line, a multi-tracked acoustic piece, then three selections from Rambler and three more from Lookout for Hope. The transition from the wacky, banjo-driven "Hangdog" to Kenny Wheeler's "Kind of Gentle" is jarring, but no matter. Nearly a decade separates these two pieces, and it's interesting to hear Frisell, by the mid-'90s, favoring a clean, unprocessed tone (indicative, perhaps, of his growing interest in country music). After offering a quick peek at the 1986 Paul Bley Quartet (in which Motian reappears), Frisell closes with a brilliant stroke: a piece that doesn't feature him at all. Bassist Gavin Bryars wrote "Sub Rosa," from a 1993 disc called Vita Nova, in honor of Frisell. Playing the gorgeous, quasi-classical work is an ensemble of recorder, clarinet, violin, vibraphone, piano, and bass. "I sometimes have dreams of music like this," writes Frisell in his comically self-effacing liner notes. © David R. Adler /TiVo

Jazz - Released May 13, 2002 | Nonesuch

Echoing his 1995 release, Nashville, Bill Frisell's The Willies revisits the auburn sounds of American roots music. Although he has dipped into folk music in prior efforts, these songs follow the traditional mode even more faithfully than any of his previous releases, with only minor shifts into his familiar dissonant explorations. Assisted by Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo and guitar and bassist Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, Wayne Horvitz & Zony Mash), Frisell's quirky tonalities and sweeping soundscapes still pervade each track, but the disquieting surges found on releases like The Bill Frisell Quartet and Gone, Just Like a Train are relatively reigned in. This in no way means that The Willies sounds anything like Hot Rize or New Grass Revival -- it is most certainly a Bill Frisell album; dark and mysterious, eerily beautiful, richly textured and layered -- just sort of a kinder, gentler Bill Frisell album. Highlights include the banjo-driven Carter Family standard "Single Girl, Married Girl" and the group's stark rendition of "Sugar Baby," a song usually associated with the similarly haunting Dock Boggs. Anyone familiar with the guitarist's style will understand his choices in recording these timeworn love songs and murder ballads, and traditional folk aficionados will be intrigued to hear their old favorites in this new environment. © Zac Johnson /TiVo


Bill Frisell in the magazine