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7/10/11 4:24 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/10/11 4:38 PM
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"extraterrestrial retard funk" is classic! And back then, early 90s or so, he's playing an extraterrestrial guitar. Or else a weed-whacker with pickups. (It's a Klein, custom made stupidly expensive thing. Started on an SG with lots of duct tape. Nowadays he's playing a telecaster).

I saw the duo, Frisell with Joey Baron, a while back at the Jazz Bakery in L.A. I was pimping Frisell to a friend who trusted my musical tastes, and we went... and it was almost 100% that. Just extraterrestrial retard funk and skronky start-stop noise. Guy just won't listen to Frisell any more, pretty much.

These tunes are cool -- it's an era of his work I like a lot... he did a record called "Have a Little Faith" that was like a Frizzed version of the history of American music or something (Aaron Copland and Madonna and Howlin' Wolf and Bob Dylan and Sonny Rollins and John Phillip Sousa....). So these two are from that era -- McKinley Morganfeld and Madonna.

(BTW, I like "Have a LIttle Faith" a lot, but it's all other people's music being covered, so I miss his own tunes on that stuff. I knew HIS version of Live to Tell before I knew the Madonna... his studio version, not what you linked. Always dug it).

I wasn't hearing fuzak cheese on this one... but I knew what was coming. If not exactly this live version, I've heard that trio do it plenty of times. And I love it, wish the drums/cymbals were mixed a bit up. Cause that guy's a complete original freak, too.

But yeah... any time you think you're gonna get fuzak cheese from Frisell, you just gotta wait a minute. He never does that, and he'll find a way to surprise you.

When I like him least is when he's mining some very simple vein and disappears in it, "deferring" too much to his band or something. He's done a lot of that recently. His forthcoming record is a "songs of Lennon" album -- I've heard that stuff live and loved it, but am not too optimistic about the studio for a covers record right now. Hopefully I'll be surprised -- again.

Youtube has just gotten a lot better since I really spent time exploring there -- none of this stuff was up when I looked back-when. There was SOME stuff with Paul Motian (that was great) and I think even some stuff with Marc Johnson (i.e., the band with Frisell and Scofield). But almost nothing under Frisell's own name.

There's a duo record -- MIchael White on violin, Bill Frisell on guitar, you might like. Here's a sample -- (again no vid, just the studio album) -- doing Thelonius Monk's "Misterioso".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmXd044FzoE

I'm still finding the sound quality on youtube a bit frustrating. But I have my computer running through an outboard DAC and some good speakers.
7/10/11 4:38 PM
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Ali
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This is just a whiff... clearly the whole tune is cut up until the drum solo and head-out.

It's from "Drummerworld" which explains all the focus on Peter Erskine. But they came in to the end of their cover of Coltrane's "Resolution".

Frisell's and Scofield's solos on the studio record ("Marc Johnson's Bass Desires") are rather lengthy and awe-inspiring. To me at least. Here it's too little, but you hear how the complementary guitar styles work, and what might be missing from Grace Under Pressure.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amvTBuLZweU

From the same gig, a mellow tune but you get more of those two...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgdioarsMsE&NR=1

That's super mellow, but still both guitarists doing what they do, the complementarity is very clear.

Back in those days Frisell would roar a lot... shake the building. This is not an example of that... lately he's focused on lots more turbo-mellow stuff. He's still Godzilla when he wants to be, but it happens less. He knows he can eat your city, doesn't do it just 'cause he can any more.
7/10/11 4:42 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/14/11 10:15 PM
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This is a bit of the old "roar" -- maybe from the same show as the Blues Dream vid you posted (?). I'm crazy about this stuff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXz83N1-0b8&feature=related

Oh the sound quality on this is a bit unfortunate, but no worse than what you're used to... I think you might dig this -- the old trio with Driscoll/Baron:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqodTBB5_iQ&feature=related

and here's he's doing John McLaughlin tune, with the usual 2 1/2 minutes of building the machine before turning it on. Tune peeks out if you know it, or upon repeated listens so you know where it's going, but doesn't really get the melody played straight until 4:25. Then some sick 11/8 blues soloing at around 6:28. And lots more moments I could pick out...:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFkgNohkbUA&feature=related

And completely solo, with a more understated use of the delay devices... but holy@#$%!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXOiTBuC28w&feature=related


Also, if you have the time/energy... another one which seems like a simple folk-y tune, where the delays are used to build something huge and beautiful before it's over. That whole "hello me from five minutes ago!" effect... from around 7:45 on. But this is why it takes patience. He lets you watch him build it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpu33a_Y8VU&feature=related
7/10/11 5:07 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/11/11 11:19 AM
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One more... One of my favorite Ornette Coleman tunes, "Ramblin'". Which might have been written by his bass player, Charlie Haden (need to look that up). But here's Haden much older. With what was the Ginger Baker Trio -- Frisell on guitar, here playing the "sax part" on guitar. (And yes, Ginger freakin' Baker ?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCUWusjBxQc

That's a long clip from a show, part 2. All of it is good. But part 2 is where you find Ramblin'. Part 1 is cool, too, if you're interested. They're doing Ginger Blues (or Ginger Blue?) in that one.
7/11/11 10:44 PM
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hugomma
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Okay, backing a bit. I'm already hooked on Cline, but I didn't wanna blow this off, & boy & am I glad I didn't. Even though he's laying back, his chord voicings help push the vocals along. Yet another side to his brilliant playing. Never listened to Carla Bozulich before, she's...different.
7/11/11 10:47 PM
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hugomma
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I can't say I love these guys, but this is a really beautiful solo & a pretty decent song.
7/11/11 10:55 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 07/11/11 10:57 PM
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Even though this is a Monk tune, it sounds more like modern classical music than "jazz". What he's doing here, on his end at least, is pretty understated but wild as hell if you really listen to what he's doing. I think I see the appeal.   
7/11/11 11:06 PM
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hugomma
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Holy shit, now that's more like it. Yeah, this is Godzilla shit, but at the same time Frisell never lets you forget that he is a master of understated space. Somewhere, Miles and Bill Evans are smiling...
7/11/11 11:25 PM
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hugomma
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As cool as that was, it reminded me of why I didn't like "Grace Under Pressure". I felt like Frisell's tone was buried under too much warbley chorus, & Scofield's tone is generally too high endy for me. It drove me nuts at the time. Except for country guitar & a few exceptions (like D. Boon of the Minutemen), I'm generally drawn to more middy, bassier tones.

Don't get me wrong, the tune, playing, & intensity is quite impressive. I'm just a bit of a cunt when it comes to tone.
7/12/11 12:01 AM
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hugomma
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I've never heard Ginger Baker play jazz, wow. That was impressive. That was the best distorted tone I've heard from Bill Frisell. No complaints about his sound here. From what you're saying, he's not playing like this as much anymore, which is a shame.

Gotta go to bed, but will check back later.

Thanks Ali,

Hugo
7/13/11 9:03 PM
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Ali
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Cool, Hugo! I gave you too much homework, now that I see how many damn videos I suggested.

Of course I could react to each of your reactions, but I don't want to tell you how I feel. I hear some things differently, but the point is you wanted some guidance as to a range of Friselliana, and you're chasing much of it down.

There are still other things I pointed out that you didn't embed (I don't know why I didn't do it -- is it a question of me having to actually log in to youtube to see it? I haven't done that in forever). But there are still other things altogether, like larger bands, more accompaniment, the John Zorn/Naked City years (which have more than one side, to my way of thinking, too). And I didn't see any on youtube that give even a vague sniff of his work with Paul Motian... but that trio with those two and Joe Lovano were doing my favorite music in the 80s. Along with a couple of the post-Ornette records (Ronald Shannon Jackson's "Man Dance" and a couple others, or James Blood Ulmer's "Odyssey" and "Black Rock")... One thing I found disappointing was the record Frisell did with Vernon Reid, because they hurried and they didn't have a band, so there's a lot of synthetic percussion and some synthetic bass. That's a pair that could really work something special if they were able to take the time. And both played with Ronald Shannon Jackson at different times... I don't know if that was their connection, or just that all the guitar players in NYC at the time knew each other.

On Wilco/Cline -- Cline is the best thing that ever happened to them as far as soloists... they already had that wall-of-distortion noise side to them earlier, on "Being There", but no one to do is as well as Cline. On the other hand, I think their strongest songs, at least so far, were written before he joined them. I don't like the studio records that feature him very much, in spite of his occasional moment. I suppose if I were recommending a Wilco record to somebody, though, it would be the live "Kicking Television". That's with Cline just after he officially joined, live versions of songs from the records before he joined. I really only listen to two or three songs off of that (double CD).

I have Clines most recent recordings under his own name, though I don't have all the art work that comes with the packaging of the most recent. Don't know how programmatic it is... I haven't really absorbed it at all yet. I'm pretty wild about "Initiate" though. The 2CD set, I mean. Half live half studio, some super avant-weird and some super-groove. It's hard to pick a favorite record, though... like Frisell (only less so in that Frisell is heavily featured on 5x as many recordings!)

I take it you don't like, or at least were unconvinced by, Carla Bozulich. I will point out... the Scarnella record is very strange indeed and does not feature that song in the vid. Nels was in her band Geraldine Fibbers for their second album -- and it's sort of like the Wilco situation; the songs were much stronger on the first. If you're at all curious about Carla as the front-woman in a more 90s rock (y'know, soft-loud-soft like EVERYONE was doing when MTV still played videos)... I'd suggest looking up the video for Dragon Lady (again, by Geraldine Fibbers). You might not care, because it is before she hooked up with Nels. I personally think she's a bit of a treasure... brainy lyrics and some visceral rock sometimes, and just really unique choices as a singer.

That's just getting far afield, though.
7/14/11 10:25 AM
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hugomma
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Ali,

I would be curious to hear how you feel about my warbley chorus/high end guitar comments. I love Frisell's other tones, but I remember "Grace Under Pressure" sounded similar to the "Bass Desires" clip. I looked for GUP & don't have it anymore. I think I gave it way, which is fine, because the stuff you recommended sounds so much better to my ears.

One of the things I like most about Nels are his various tones. I love the fuzz/overdrive/delay sounds he chooses. I think that's what separates him from most of the other jazz/fusion/progressive guitarists out there.

I skipped around a bit, but I will check out & post the rest of the clips.

Not sure why you thought I didn't like the Carla Bozulich clip. I really enjoyed it, it was different. It was interesting to hear Cline's chords & textures blend with Bozulich's unique vocals. I thought it was more interesting that the Wilco clips I've heard.

Gotta go for now, but talk to you soon,

Hugo
7/14/11 11:12 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/14/11 9:56 PM
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Hi Hugo --

That's one comment... I dunno. Sco is "warbly" in a way, I think really unique and a great melodic thinker and ridiculously great rhythm player (if you haven't heard anything from "Hand Jive" or "Groove Elation" I'd recommend a listen, at least, to know what that is). Frisell's own tone... well, it's a very short clip. He has a range. I love that he plays the high stuff, too -- it's super clear on his cover of the Madonna tune as well, with both tweety stuff and subsonic stuff. All that said, on the original studio version of that Bass Desires cover, he's using a VERY 80's guitar synth for some of it, that I really don't like. As in, I'd rather hear it re-done with a more current rig. But I freakin' LOVE the tune anyway, and think it really is inventive and powerful and does justice to Coltrane. Meh. I'm not at all attached to you hearing it the same way, differences are fine with me!

On the Michael White... it starts out sounding like "modern classical" but I hear the violin tone as VERY early New Orleans jazz before it's over. Which is a strange run through time periods, especially given that they're doing a 40s tune which is very much a blues, a simple blues if you pay attention to the notes, made "strange" by Monk's impish rhythmic sense. And this is one of the reasons I love Frisell apart from his unique tonal choices and textures. He's the reincarnation of Monk with the rhythmic sense that always makes me laugh, the constant surprise in the smallest gestures.

I'm glad you dug Carla, it was just that you put in an ellipsis and the word "different"! Too funny.

Anyway, that's my immediate reaction to some of your comments, but as I said... no real attachment, no need to convince you that I hear better or something really pretentious like that. And when someone is a fan/collector on the level I am, things get heard as pieces of a bigger picture, maybe I miss the tree for the forest sometimes.
7/14/11 1:32 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 07/14/11 7:14 PM
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Ali,

I love Sco's playing, but man his tone's a bit too high end for me. I've heard his funk/groove albums, & in that setting, it doesn't bother me, but in a more traditional modern jazz setting, well...(ha!)

Frisell's tones, outside of the warbley chorus thing, are actually quite beautiful. On "Live to Tell", I though his tone sounded like a wizard traversing the space/time continuum with a country guitar rig strapped to his back. The only reason I thought it might be cheese was cause I was already bludgeoned by Madonna's version in the 80's. Miles Davis ruined modern  jazz/pop crossover for me with "Human Nature" & "Time After Time".  The chord voicings, phrasing, timing - it was excellent.

Gotta go, talk soon,

Hugo 
7/14/11 7:01 PM
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hugomma
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Had a few minutes before I take my son to t-ball. Holy shit. Does Frisell not play like this on albums anymore because it's too awesome & he doesn't wanna scare other musicians?

You're right, he IS the guitar playing reincarnation of Monk.
7/14/11 9:36 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/14/11 10:20 PM
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Hi Hugo --

I don't have a problem with his tone in that (Drummersworld) segment, it's just one choice in the arsenal. But I get it if you do. Happens to me all the time with "good" singers in particular. So I don't want to defend my tastes, and obviously Frisell needs no defense from anybody, but least of all someone as appreciative as you!

Re: the latest trio clip... yup. Killer. He's Godzilla. I have no sidewalks any more. (so many great things, but the transition between the two tunes at just after 4:40 is one thing I'm really impressed by). Clearly you need to get yourself a copy of "Live". The whole album is of a piece, just an amazing journey. And it's that trio.

"Unscientific Americans" was done first (as far as I know) with Ronald Shannon Jackson's trio, Power Tools. Only cd was called "Strange Meeting". About half of that is unbelievably great, too. Another half didn't gel quite as well, but it's all good. THAT trio did one of the most amazing concerts I ever got to attend.

I'm glad you "get" the Monk-reincarnation claim. I used to say it all the time and got shot down by various jazz-fan friends. Then when the DVD "The Art of Bill Frisell" came out, there's a quote from Jim Hall that says (not reincarnation) Frisell puts him mind of Monk. I'm like... vindication. Jim freakin' HALL hears it, too.

So long as we're talking about Nels Cline and Bill Frisell... I'll throw out another name. You ever hear Eivind Aarset? (Not that it can't wait... you still need to hear the Frisell cover of McLaughlin's "Follow Your Heart"at the very least!)
7/14/11 11:42 PM
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hugomma
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Well, since you brought it up, I had to check it out. This mutherfucker just doesn't quit.

I don't think anyone does skronk better, although I would say Cline is either right there with him or close to it. He's awesome in so many ways it's a bit overwhelming. That solo at 6:28 has been rewound more than a few times, although I like to start at 5:33, after he tunes his D string and develops the chords that lead into the solo. His transitions are as great as anything else about him.

Frisell is a musical paradox. He's nuanced & noisy, melodic & dissonant, laid back & in your face. You & Jim Hall are right about the Monk comparisons. At first, I was thinking Miles & Bill Evans, but the angularity of his melodies, & the way he feels rhythms are much more in line with Monk than anyone else I can think of.

As a guitarist and a fan of jazz/progressive music, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you sharing all this with me.
7/14/11 11:45 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 07/14/11 11:45 PM
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You're a self-proclaimed Frisell evangelist.  Do you know much about his gear?  Any idea what that blue delay pedal is on "Follow Your Heart"?

Here is an older list of his gear:

http://www.jazzguitar.be/guitar_rig_bill_frisell.html

Here are his effects:
   
Bill Frisell Guitar Effects  Guitar Effects


ProCo RAT Distortion Pedal

The RAT is a distortion pedal designed by Scott Richard Burnham who started ProCo in 1975.

More information about the ProCo Rat reissue

Proco Rat distortion pedal



Ibanez Tube Screamer

An overdrive/distortion pedal that allows the true sound of the guitar to come through. The most popular use of a tube screamer is to push a tube amp to make it overdrive more.

Ibanez Tube Screamer



Line 6 Delay Modeler

A digital modeling pedal based on 15 vintage delay and echo effects. Bill uses it for loops and stuff.

More information about the Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeler pedal

Line 6 Delay Modeler



 Other Guitar Effects

-Volume pedal!
-Boss DD1 digital delay pedal (for ambience)
-Lexicon MPX-100 (Bill likes to use the reverb of this (cheap) multi-fx processor)
-TC electronic compressor
-Electro Harmonix 16 second delay
-Digitech 8 second delay
-Alesis Microverb


 
7/14/11 11:55 PM
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hugomma
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How many sides are there to this guy? That was just downright pretty, without any cheese, sap, or melodrama.
7/15/11 12:11 AM
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hugomma
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That was simply beautiful. Not much else to say, it speaks for itself. Wow.

I'll check out Eivind Aarset next, but I wanna go back and listen to some of this stuff again.
7/15/11 12:20 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/15/11 12:22 AM
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I love your "how many sides are there to this guy?"

'Cause there are more (plenty more, really, which is scary).

I LOVE Nels Cline, and agree he does skronk "right there". I am loath to compare them, they seem to get along quite non-competitively, thank you. There are some clear differences in range, but lots of overlap, too.

That "Ventura" is a Lucinda Williams tune, strngely enough. Did you get to the end? No one uses delay better. You can really see that in "Poem for Eva" too, with some of the close ups of when he's starting/stopping and using the delay to continue and build on. That tune is an original.

I know there are some larger band pieces on youtube, which are great, too. Things like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JwZlu2mR84

But really, we're scratching the surface still. It goes on forever. Hence my "evangelism".

I wish I could find one of the fan-recordings of a full show with Cline and Frisell together!

I don't know what pedals he's using... he's brought it up in interviews in hilarious ways. "Well, I used this thing for one effect, but this other thing cancelled it out, and I didn't know any better... after 10 years I got rid of both of them..." sort of talk.
7/15/11 12:39 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/15/11 12:43 AM
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BTW... I get the Miles and Bill Evans comparisons, too. (I get those with Cline as well, who is really modal player).

One of my favorite things Bill Frisell did on record is a very mellow CD with Paul Motian called (get ready...) "Bill Evans". Motian was the drummer in the Bill Evans trio (with Scott LaFaro) way the hell back. He did a record of Monk's music (which I have mixed feelings about) and Evans' music. With his core trio of Joe Lovano on sax and Frisell, plus. The Bill Evans disc is just so damned beautiful it hurts. Definitely Frisell can do that, leaning more that way in his gray-haired days it seems. (Though I don't want to say he doesn't ever do skronk, even on record... he still does it all. Just the percentages have changed. Live you never know, unless you've heard that band on that tour already).

Looked back at Follow Your Heart. You're totally right to start it earlier than 6:28 (which was semi-random, but it's where he thickens up the tone for that Blooz thing. Really the solo starts earlier than the 5:33 spot, too... it's a crazy-developed, long thing. I like it more now the third time through!)
7/15/11 12:40 AM
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hugomma
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Listening to "Equinox" again right now.

I have no doubt this thread is just scratching the surface of Bill Frisell's artistry. The word artist itself brings up images of pretense and masturbatory self indulgence, but Frisell's more than just a rad guitarist, he is a true artist in every sense of the word.

I agree, there's no need to compare Frisell & Cline. I'm just glad they're both here, doing what they do. What an exciting time for musicians & music lovers.

As much as I appreciate what he did with delay on "Poem for Eva", what really got me about "Ventura" was the raw beauty of the music. It was like hearing "Axis: Bold as Love" or "In a Silent Way" for the first time. I was so swept away that while I was listening to it, the gear, the delay, all of that stuff didn't matter. But yeah, no one uses delay better.

Now I'm listening to "Unscientific Americans/Hang Dog" again. Jesus, how is this the same guy? Yet, it still sounds like fucking Bill Frisell, LOL.

You know, there's lots of great players out there with tons of jaw dropping technique: the McLaughins, the Holdsworths, the Shawn Lanes of the world. They deserve whatever praise & glory they get, but it's a shame we live in a fast food culture that doesn't understand what the Bill Frisells & Nels Clines of the world do.
7/15/11 12:48 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 07/15/11 12:52 AM
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Nels has "shred" chops, too -- much more than Frisell -- just very rarely shows them!

Yeah, I love that Ventura, and of course Miles and Hendrix come to mind with the beautiful/trippy stuff. There's a version of Ventura he did solo at Grace Cathedral in Berkeley (I think) that kills me. That's not on youtube -- it's one of "download series" shows from his website.

I'm with you on "artist". Whatever pretensions that often implies... He's an artist. (His wife is a ridiculously good painter, too). Dude happens to play guitar... and build spaceships and survey planets and every once in a while eat your city.

I love that he did a McLaughlin tune at all. I remember reading an interview with him where he said when he heard McLaughlin (I don't know which record) he just wanted to give up. Never ever could do that. And he soon thereafter read an interview with Miles Davis, talking about listening to Dizzy Gillespie and thinking he could never ever do that. So he had to do something else. That got Frisell playing again.

Nels Cline, too, is a super unassuming guy... loves music. His twin brother, too. HUGE ears, all of these guys. Never do you get the sense than they make a show-offy "hands-first" decision, or play licks.

I love also how you say no matter how different, "sounds like the same guy". Early on I just thought, here's a dude that uses volume swells and a VERY soft touch with a pick to hide the attack of the note, so everything sounds like it's being squeezed out of a tube. But half of that is the insane control of the volume knob with his pinky and use of compression. But then... he sounds like the same guy when playing acoustic. Really.
7/15/11 12:52 AM
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hugomma
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Look what I found, Ali.  It starts off sound like a nice piece of modern chamber music, and then 2:07 happens.



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