The eastern eccentrics arrived cautiously for their first San Diego gig. Dressed in thrift store faded clothes, they tuned bass, cello, and keyless electric guitar. Bill Frisell’s shy smile gave his bald pate drummer the go ahead. Soon they rumbled with flashing treasures for the curious.
A blues tune grew into not unlike Willie Dixon’s “You Shook Me”. The lanky cello man had some strong licks. He was dressed most out of place for fashion conscious La Jolla- yellow T-shirt with a bumblebee blowing saxophone, and blue checkered pants with sneakers. Frisell’s black t-shirt and navy chinos upgraded the band’s wardrobe.
But the lack of southern California apparel was a plus and these guys knew it. Om-paa-pa calliope sounds pumped from the blues. Joey on the traps soared, private jokes passed between he and Frisell. Drum slaps followed quick on the heels of lead riffs.
The next tune begins with a cold wind on guitar. Bare trees rattle on a fogged window. Back outside an actual reflection of the bass players face and drummer’s smile looks like a television screen floating over the red light intersection, here at eleven stories up.
With a jump, our ears snap from a cacophony of bird song in agonizing flight; as if eluding a hungry beast. Frisell is an electric monster beckoning the apocalypse (and this from a man who on an NPR interview claims he’s too shy to sing in the shower).
A prancing devil wails like Pan; high-pitched pipes and clacking hooves. The source being both guitar and rim hits on the snare. Again the tune falls quickly into a new thought, Brazilian swing, and ending with a few bars of Ventures for the surfers present.
The band’s cohesive sound with one instrument rising, another gliding in, has immediacy as did John McGlaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. A country theme follows with sage odor over Norwegian icy fjords. Digging deep into their creative pockets these New Yorkers became cowboys leading a tattered wagon. The dusty lace curtains behind the wagon master concealed heavy lidded whores, with cherry wet lips and fingers weighted of turquoise rings.
A dry dust swirled under the elaborate chandelier here in Elario’s, sticking to the velvet curtains. Outside a real gust blew with the autumn Santa Ana wind. The whores lifted their veils and blew sweet kisses of sound for us all.
After the show we drove east through the remains. Patio umbrellas littered the climb up Torrey Pines Road. And on the freeway, the severed body of a coyote, shiny crimson under a brief flash of headlights.
Frisell and his crew had stretched the limits.
- by Dan Pater
"I first heard Michael Gregory Jackson in 1975 when I moved to Boston. He blew my mind and influenced me a LOT. I believe he's one of the unsung innovators. Here is a poster from a gig I went to in 1977. This was the first time I heard Anthony Davis and Paul Maddox (aka Pheeroan Ak Laff). It was awesome.
And....here is a picture of Michael and me from a few days ago in Portland, Maine."
- Bill Frisell, July 1st, 2015
Willie Nelson's parking spot, Arlyn Studios, Austin, TX
Facebook page HERE
YouTube CD Release Video HERE
Sonny Rollins responds to a controversial New Yorker article.
Dewey Redman, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Charlie Haden, Amina Claudine Myers, Paul Motian.
This photo was taken at the Liberation Music Orchestra's "Dreamkeeper" recording session, April, 1990.
Thanks to Hans Wendl.
Photo by Cheung Ching-Ming"
Forgotten Heroes: Bruce Langhorne
Premier Guitar published a wonderful article about Bruce, HERE.
An important article from Van Dyke Parks
Carole D'Inverno, Painter
Click HERE to read the interview
Photo taken by Bill, September 11th, 2013.
Interview with trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith about the masterwork, Ten Freedom Summers.
April 4th, 2013
"I believe there are techniques of the human mind whereby, in it's dark deep,
problems are examined, rejected or accepted. Such activities sometimes concern
facets a man does not know he has. How often one goes to sleep troubled and full
of pain, not knowing what causes the travail, and in the morning a whole new
direction and a clearness is there, maybe the result of the black reasoning. And
again there are mornings where ecstasy bubbles in the blood, and the stomach and
chest are tight and electric with joy, and nothing in the thoughts to justify it
or cause it."
by John Steinbeck, East of Eden
"In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply
limited by hurry. So often men trip by being in a rush. If one were properly to
perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be
achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget
it completely and concentrate solely on the means. By this method he would not
be moved to false action by anxiety or hurry or fear. Very few people learn
by John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived his whole life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and sober. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then - the glory - so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
I don't know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.
At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.
And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I might fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory be killed, we are lost.
by John Steinbeck - quote from "East of Eden"
A bit contraversial to CBS, Miles Davis suggests the name of his new album.
left to right:
Tony Scherr, Bill Frisell, Kenny Wollesen
Sun, 29 Jan 2012
"Last night I was talking to Fred Taylor...and was trying to remember
and write down all the music I heard at his clubs (Jazz Workshop and
Paul's Mall) in the 70s in Boston. Here are some of them...." - Bill
Nov. 21, 1864
Ginger Baker and Bill
Their first album working together. Ginger Baker's CD "Going Back Home" 1994
Bill's Websites of Interest
More to come....
photo by Michael Wilson from the Blues Dream sessions, February 4, 2000 in Burbank, California.