Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell

A certified superstar of New York City’s downtown avant-garde, American guitarist Bill Frisell drops into town for a pair of concerts at Art Sphere on July 19 and Akasaka ACT Theater on July 21.

Frisell has performed on dozens of recordings, perfecting his subdued, lyrical sound as a sideman for Jan Garbarek and Paul Motian on issues by jazz label ECM before stepping out front as leader of the Bill Frisell Band.

The band, consisting of Joey Barron on drums, Kermit Driscoll on bass and Hank Roberts on cello, released Lookout for Hope in 1988, followed by several more albums in which Frisell defined his eclectic approach. In an interview with Wire magazine Frisell explained his genre-exploding musical palette as follows: “When I was 16, 17 I was listening to a lot of surfing music, a lot of English rock. Then I saw Wes Montgomery and somehow that kind of turned me around and fitted it all together. Jim Hall made a big impression on me and I took some lessons with him. I suppose I play the kind of harmonic things Jim Hall would play but with a sound that comes from Jimi Hendrix.”

During his years in New York, Frisell also hooked up with downtown experimentalists John Zorn and Wayne Horvitz, the former with whom he recorded the radical jazz-to-rock-and-beyond Naked City (which also featured vocals by Yamatsuka Eye of Japan’s the Boredoms) in 1990, and the latter with whom he relocated to his present home of Seattle in the same year.

Since his relocation to Seattle, Frisell’s collaborative partnership with keyboardist/producer Horvitz has blossomed, with a number of recordings issued including Is That You? and Where in the World?

In 1997, Frisell made his first appearance on national US television for the program Sessions at West 54th, and in 1999 collaborated with Elvis Costello for The Sweetest Punch, an instrumental interpretation of the songs of Costello and Burt Bacharach.

For his unusual Art Sphere program-part of the Tokyo Summer Music Festival-Frisell will explore “silent comedies with live accompaniment,” playing music composed for Buster Keaton’s silent film One Week and other original film scores.

Bill Frisell plays at Art Sphere on July 19 as part of the Tokyo Summer Music Festival and at Akasaka ACT Theater on July 21. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana