A documentary by Emma Franz. Rating unavailable
There aren’t many other guitarists like Bill Frisell. In fact, there aren’t any other guitarists like Bill Frisell.
The placid voice and presence are those of a friendly veterinarian or a favourite high-school teacher, but the 66-year-old Denverite has for decades been a swirling vortex of musical ideas both imposing and beautiful.
He’s impossible to categorize. Calling him a jazz guitarist, for want of a better term, misses out on his love of unearthly effects, his lack of interest in flash, his willingness and ability to glide across almost any genre boundary.
Calling him a fearless improviser fails to emphasize the vital melodic sense that’s always there, moving through the layers he builds up effortlessly.
Director Emma Franz’s new documentary Bill Frisell: A Portrait shows a self-deprecating master whose hands seem to float while shaping sonic lines and fields that always surprise with their weird clarity.
Late jazz great Jim Hall—just one of many admirers speaking here, along with Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Nels Cline, and Jack DeJohnette—refers to Frisell as “a far-out, cloudlike eminence”. That’s perfectly put, and as good a way as any of summing up what has attracted collaborators ranging from Allen Toussaint and Brian Eno to Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, and Lou Reed.
Bill Frisell: A Portrait screens at the Vancity Theatre at 8:30 p.m. on Monday (June 19), as part of the Music Mondays series.