Happy Birthday Bill Frisell

Here is the maestro as a youngster at the beginning of his tenure with the greatest musical aggregation I have ever seen. A year before this concert, he came into Rudy’s Music in New York, where I worked. He had a Gibson SG Junior and wasn’t happy with the noise from its single-coil P-90. For my sins, I convinced him to replace it with a Seymour Duncan JB and arranged for the installation. He must have also had this regular SG or purchased it later.

Cut to 1991—Bill was celebrating his 40th birthday playing with Robin Holcomb at the Great American Musical Hall in SF. I had lobbied hard for the opening slot with my band because I knew Bill would be in Robin’s band. Bill had a cold that night and wasn’t having the best birthday, nevertheless he was kind enough to help me carry my gear to my car. He is not only one of the all-time guitar greats, he is a helluva guy. Happy Birthday Bill.


Spotlight: Jakob Bro

In a video below, Lee Konitz says about Jakob Bro’s  music, “He has no words for it. It’s not folk music, it’s not jazz, it’s not pop music, it’s not funk, you know, it’s just balladeering.” Bro’s beautiful sound and compositional voice, on his new ECM release Gefion, seem an extension of the more pastoral sides of Paul Motian, with whom he has played, and Bill Frisell, who has appeared on a few of the Danish guitarist’s records. It also recalls the patient, ambience of fellow Scandinavians like Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber in their more reflective moments. Still, Bro is occasionally capable of stomping on the distortion to shift from the calm of the pasture to urban tension. The uncatagorizable nature of his music, combined with his use of looping and effects, places him firmly in the modern guitar firmament. Those in Scandinavia will be able to see him perform this May, with a band that includes Frisell and Konitz, on his Balladeering Tour.

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