Posts Tagged ‘bill frisell’

REVIEW: Bill Frisell Trio @ the Shedd (Eugene, OR – 1/23/10)

24th Jan 10 (Sun) 1 comment


I saw Bill Frisell about a year and a half ago with Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston… fantastic show, but more on the experimental, avant-garde edge (my review of that June 2008 show).  Last night’s show was a trio of guitarist Bill Frisell with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen (Sex Mob, Electric Masada, etc):

They hit the Shedd stage around 7:30pm.  Differing from the retro live photo above, Tony Scherr was on electric bass.  Kenny Wollesen played a standard kit, and Bill Frisell had a few guitars, pedals, gear to loop his sounds… and a big screen above them to show the congruous films as they played.

At the beginning of the show, Bill explained the accompanying film pieces: four by Seattle animator Jim Woodring, one by Bill Morrison, and two Buster Keaton classics.  The band started out with a Jim Woodring computer animation – all black and white, but with many interesting, morphing shapes.  The music started off slow, had some interesting wandering scales with a nice build and finish.  The animation was quite enveloping, and the 10 minute piece seemed to fly by…

I was only allowed to take photos for the initial fifteen minutes, but the rest of the Woodring cartoons were somewhat related to the initial computer animations – many of the same morphing shapes show up, whether in a character, a beer tap, or a lamp.  The primary character in the animations was “Frank.”  We follow him around in his travels that either end in a big mess, a violent picnic, or death.

The second Woodring piece introduced us to the aforementioned “Frank.”  He tooled around his house and then went up into the hills to some odd looking palace, and when he returned, his house had been ransacked by some fat, troll-like human character.  The animation appeared to be paper-based stop-motion animation.  The music had a Floratone or possibly Disfarmer feel… I actually recognized the melody that Bill played midway through, but can’t place it now.

The third piece was another Woodring “Frank” animation, but this time with either colored paper or possibly fabric animation.  The setting was a picnic and got fairly violent near the end.  The piece was shorter (maybe 5 minutes), which led into the fourth and final Woodring piece… a claymation “Frank” with a devil-type character.  The music had a nice groove, and the animation ended with the beer tap looking piece of furniture tipping over to expose the phrase “And You Call Yourself a Gentleman.”

Up next were three silent films… and quite frankly, I lost the music in the viewing.  I think the music worked really well and enhanced the pieces, but it definitely fell to the background of what I was paying attention to …

The first was a short film called The Mesmerist by Bill Morrison featuring a re-worked 1926’s film The Bells which featured Boris Karloff.  It had been altered from the original, and I’m not sure what was part of the original and what was part of the re-imagining.  It started with a very old, sepia & scratchy feel and grew into more animated splotches.  The storyline is of an innkeeper who murders a rich visitor and is haunted by the murder he committed.

Up next were two Buster Keaton films… The High Sign (1921) and One Week (1920)…

Each film was in the 15-20 minute range.  I was quite amazed at Buster’s utterly ingenious physical comedy.  I was familiar with his work a little bit (trumpeter Dave Douglas and his Keystone band has used Buster Keaton in the past).  The first one was a gangster caper with a really basic (but stupendous) cross-section of a house with tons of trap doors and moving walls.  The second one was of a cheap home that was hurriedly built after a wedding with hilarity ensuing.  For the video (with non-Frisell music) check out YouTube of The High Sign and of One Week.

Seven songs, 90 minutes… the Trio took a bow and left the stage.  They hit the stage one last time for a short animation of Woodring’s Frank called Whim Grinder:

I enjoyed the film and animation accompanying Frisell’s music; though, I’ll say again that the music really dropped to the background on some of the wild imagery of the Frank cartoons and storylines & physical comedy going on in the films.  Upcoming tour dates of Frisell’s include Eyvind Kang/Rudy Royston dates, some Ron Carter/Paul Motion dates, some 858 Quartet dates, and these Scherr/Wollesen dates (which would presumably feature the films/animations as well)…

  • 1/24/2010 – Seattle, WA – Triple Door
  • 4/2/2010 – Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival at Charles Morris Center
  • 4/3/2010 – Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival at Charles Morris Center

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Flyleaf – Flyleaf

all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Limited to 1200 pixels wide or tall (10 pics)



30th Jun 08 (Mon) 3 comments

(Sub)consciously prompted by this music blog, here are my favs of the first half of 2008… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end:

Artist Album (label)

  1. The Secret Chiefs 3 play Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 9: Xaphan (Tzadik)
  2. The Bar Kokhba Sextet play Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 10: Lucifer (Tzadik)
  3. My Brightest Diamond A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (Asthmatic Kitty)
  4. Opeth Watershed (RoadRunner)
  5. Earth The Bees Make Honey in the Lion’s Skull (Southern Lord)
  6. Dave Douglas & Keystone Live at Jazz Standard, 4/10/2008 to 4/13/2008 (2 sets each night = 8 CDs worth, each set downloadable within 24 hours of the performance… cool stuff…) (Green Leaf)
  7. Sigur Rós Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (XL)
  8. Reptet Chicken or Beef? (Monktail Creative Music Concern)
  9. John Zorn’s The Dreamers (Tzadik)
  10. King’s X XV (Inside Out)
  11. Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket) Secrets of the New Explorers -EP- (Umami)
  12. Ashes Divide (Bill Howerdel of A Perfect Circle) Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright (Island)
  13. Mike Patton A Perfect Place (Ipecac)
  14. Puscifer V is for Viagra – The Remixes (Puscifer)
  15. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Lil’ Tae Rides Again (Hyena)
  16. Bill Frisell History, Mystery (Nonesuch)
  17. Steven Bernstein (of Sex Mob) Diaspora Suite (Tzadik)
  18. Hiromi Beyond Standard (Telarc)
  19. Stebmo Stebmo (Stebmo)
  20. Bobby Previte & New Bump New Bump: Set the Alarm for Monday (Palmetto)
  21. Swami Late Plate (Previte & Saft) Doom Jazz (Veal)
  22. Porcupine Tree We Lost the Skyline -EP- (Transmission)
  23. Raquy and the Cavemen Mischief (Meef)
  24. Aimee Mann @#%&*! Smilers (Super Ego)
  25. Kaki King Dreaming of Revenge (Velour)

The 2nd half of 2008 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… Medeski Martin & Wood play John Zorn’s Masada Book Two, 3 other Medeski Martin & Wood albums (later in the year), Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), God of Shamisen debut, Extreme Saudades de Rock, Mike Patton‘s Mondo Cane, Mike Patton & Dan the Automator’s Crudo, a new Sufjan Stevens (just speculating, since it’s been a while), Ben Folds is working on one, Ani DiFranco always has something coming out, Jude‘s Cuba, Jon Madof‘s CircuitBreaker debut (and maybe another Rashanim?), The Tango Saloon‘s Transylvania, new Tristeza, Over the Rhine Live from Nowhere III, David Bazan full-length, George Hrab (maybe?), SFJazz 2008 with Dave Douglas & Joe Lovano and others, Frank Zappa‘s One Shot Deal, another installment of the John Zorn avant-metal trio of Mike Patton/Trevor Dunn/Joey Baron… and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.

~Dan – np: ReptetChicken or Beef?

May & June Music

17th Jun 08 (Tue) 1 comment

Here are 10 May & June CD releases that I’ve been digging… in approximate order of release…

King’s XXV: While some people kinda nay-sayed it, I give this one a thorough three thumbs up. Of course, I’m a long-time KX fan, and while some of their albums don’t suit me well (um… Black Like Sunday), I think this album is pretty well rounded. I might’a chopped the opening track “Pray” (not normally a good sign to chop the lead-off), but I think the rest of the album does any King’s X fan well. It’s got the great bass rumble from Doug, and a great mix of lead vocals not just from Doug but also a handful from guitarist Ty Tabor… and even one from drummer Jerry Gaskill (only his 3rd or 4th lead vocal track for King’s X… yay!). I think this album will stack up well in their vast catalogue.

Bill FrisellHistory, Mystery: Great double-disc from jazz guitar great Bill Frisell. He also brings along a few favorite players of mine… Bungle / Zorn / Secret Chief 3’s Eyvind Kang on viola and Sex Mob & Electric Masada drummer Kenny Wollesen. Also on the CD are Ron Miles (cornet), Hank Roberts (cello), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Tony Scherr (bass), and Greg Tardy (clarinet / tenor sax). I saw Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, and Rudy Royston last week in Eugene (review is here), and they played a few tracks from this record. Truly outstanding… and not like an uncashed check.

In other Bill Frisell May & June release news… the re-issue of the 1987 News for Lulu trio album with John Zorn & George Lewis is awesome. I think I was expecting more avant-garde music, but it’s really concise/interpretive takes of compositions by jazz historical figures Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Freddie Redd, and Sonny Clark. It’s out on one of my favorite Swiss jazz labels, Hatology. More News for Lulu is due in Jan 2009.

Aimee Mann@#%&*! Smilers: Heard about this record last fall, then forgot about it. I don’t know why I always forget about Aimee Mann, then she usually delivers more than I was expecting. @#%&*! Smilers starts out strong (my fav track is “Freeway”), and stays pretty consistently good throughout. I think it’s her strongest albums since Bachelor No. 2 (and Magnolia), even though Lost in Space and The Forgotten Arm were both strong efforts, too. I’m trying to forget about “the holiday album” (shiver / barf).

Hiromi Beyond Standard: I hadn’t heard of Hiromi until sometime in late 2007 when I re-joined BMG for the brazillionth time. I needed to fill out a Jazz order, I heard some clips of her last one (Time Control), and it kicked my ass. I mean, piano jazz can be good (read: Thelonious Monk and early Herbie Hancock), but I tend to gravitate to brass (John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dave Douglas, John Zorn). Anyway, Hiromi is somewhat of a prodigy. She’s blazing fast at times, gentle at times, and completely off the hook other times (in the good way, obviously). Her Sonicbloom band is just short of brilliant. I wish I was up in Seattle a few days ago for her multi-day run at the Triple Door.

Demians Building an Empire: This was an impulse purchase, and I needed something to fill out my Opeth order. Demians are a progressive rock band from the UK. They are in the vein of Porcupine Tree (i.e.- good songs, non-lame vocals). Check ’em out if you get a chance. They’re the sleeper / sneaker-upper album of the year so far for me. Like Abigail’s Ghost for me last year, there always seems to be some good prog-rock that strikes my fancy, even if I’ve been generally tired of the genre as of late.

Opeth Watershed: Pretty much everything Opeth has ever done is pretty good to me. They’re sort of not death metal, but not not death metal. Lush vocals, death metal growl, acoustic & thrash guitars, ethereal effects and drum blast beats. It’s a concoction that’s both powerful and beautiful. This album is one of their best produced albums since the Steven Wilson production days (SW’s just too busy, but still remains friends). And luckily this one sheds off the keyboards that I felt plagued their last one (Ghost Reveries). Quality death metal for the 21st century… SIDENOTE: Testament‘s new one (The Formation of Damnation) is also great metal for 2008.

Alanis Morissette Flavors of Entanglement: This will probably come off as a horrible thing to say, and I mean nothing sexist about it (it could happen to a male artist, too), but Alanis’ music is soooo much better when she’s not happily in a relationship. Her long-time relationship (for entertainment standards) to Ryan Reynolds came to a halt recently, and what do you know? She turned out her best emotion-filled album in a LONG TIME. Her last two “new” efforts (So-Called Chaos & JLP Acoustic) were OK to me. This one is right back on track (even though I think “Straightjacket” and the b-side “On the Tequila”… um… don’t seem to fit). It’s sad that some people have to suffer for their art to be better. Again, nothing sexist about it – – I’m bettin’ the next Silverchair (or other Daniel Johns’ side-project) will be better as wellfor similar reasons (even though the last 3+ Silverchair records have been amazing without relationship turmoil).

My Brightest Diamond A Thousand Shark’s Teeth: Stringier and less rock than her previous outing… yet still artistically sinewy with lush vocal gravity and brilliance. Shara Worden doesn’t enlist Sufjan Stevens this time around, but brings in Inlets‘ multi-instrumentalist Sebastian Krueger and the Osso String Quartet to fill out her sound. This is a great record and a great addition to the AwRy / My Brightest Diamond catalogue. I look forward to seeing her live this year (if she hits the PacNW). The best explanation/description I have for her voice is… purely sublime.

For those who don’t know of Shara Worden (i.e.- My Brightest Diamond), here’s a live video from her last (gorgeous) album (a song called “Disappear“). Her voice is goosebump inducing (for me at least):

Thanks to Eithan‘s blog for the reminding me of that gorgeous performance / video.

Clodplay (aka Coldplay) Viva la Vida or A Really Long Pretentious Title: I wasn’t gonna buy this right away… but the opening week sale was a good one. Clodplay seems to be taking what Radiohead did a decade ago (or U2 two decades ago) and simply watering it down (more and more). And they’re far more asshole-y about it (or at least Chris Martin). With that being said, I still like ’em. I just don’t ever really feel the need to see them live …EVER (too expensive… which is saying something coming from me). OK, I take that back. If they were touring with a reunited Faith No More (FNM opener or closer) or Pink Floyd (PF closer)… I’d go to that show.

But, anyway, good album. The sale price is still about $2 too much. My recommendation… get it used for cheap. Unless you’re a rabid Clodplay fan. I imagine it’ll grow on me, eventually… the last one didn’t though. Meh. PS-Yes” (#6) is a fantastic track. They need more like that

Sigur Rós Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust: Technically not out until next week, the download version came early this week… I postponed my usual “front of the line” Smodcast listening for new Sigur Rós. Right off the bat, it’s more “accessible” than their previous (I thought/think people who said that about Takk were/are on… crakk). This one’s slightly more rocky and less atmospheric, but still very much a Sigur Rós record. Perhaps what I feel makes it more “accessible” is that the songs actually feel like songs to me — not just Hopelandic meanderings (which I also love). I’m only once through, but I really dig “Gobbledigook,” “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur,” “Við spilum endalaust,” “Festival,” and “Með suð í eyrum.”

Fav of the above? Opeth, My Brightest Diamond, Hiromi, and Sigur Rós are my current cream of the crop for the ones above… but they’re all pretty damn good. Regardless of my comments on Clodplay, too… it’s a good one. Even though they’re totally 2nd wave brit whine rock. ;)

Oh, and Secret Chiefs 3‘s Xaphan beats them all out for best album of the past 2 months (I guess that’s why it got its own blog).

~Dan – pp: Tiptons Saxophone QuartetLive on KEXP Sonarchy Radio (podcast link)
np: Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Rudy RoystonLive at the Shedd, Eugene-OR, 6/7/2008 (thanks Mike!)

whoa… lot of tags on this post. Eh, that’s what you get for a mega 10-album hustle. Oh, and yeah, “Clodplay” is the correct spelling of their name. ;)

“Jazz Snob: Eat Sh*t”

16th Jun 08 (Mon) Leave a comment

Some recent DIME torrents of old Naked City shows got me to wishing I could be nostalgic (even though I didn’t get into them until 3 or 4 years ago)…

Don’t have your speakers on too loud… here’s 28 seconds of delish jazz-core (mp3 link) from Naked City (a supergroup of misfits in John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Fred Frith, Joey Baron, Yamataka Eye).

from Torture Garden and Grand Guignol

Definitely not for everyone. The bleeding edge of art jazz…

~Dan – np: (oddly enoughnot art jazz) Extreme‘s new song on MySpace called “Star” (it’s very Queen-y)

REVIEW: Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston @ the Shedd (Eugene, OR – – 6/7/08)

8th Jun 08 (Sun) 7 comments


Last night was my first time seeing all three gentlemen: Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, and Rudy Royston. I hope it is not my last.

I’m a big fan of Eyvind from his work with Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, solo works on Tzadik & Ipecac (and other indie avant labels). On the upper right of every page on this blog, I have a quote attributed to Eyvind Kang: “I believe that music should be grown on trees, to be plucked like a fruit without the extravagance of harvest.” There’s just something about jazz (and the show last night) where this is most appropriate. Sure, much of Bill Frisell’s music is structured, melodic, and hinting at a modicum of “harvest,” as it were. However, it definitely lives and breathes and is open for exploration within the structure.

Probably the best proof of this with regards to last night’s show was that Eyvind (viola) and Rudy (drums) had only met 4 or 5 hours prior to the show. This was the world premiere of the Frisell/Kang/Royston trio. Judging by how they played so well together, I would have thought they met at least 7 hours prior. ;) No, seriously, they seemed like long-time jam partners. It was great to see the immediacy of the musical “fruit plucking.”

The trio played just over 90 minutes straight-through (with one short break prior to an encore piece), probably anywhere between 6 or 8 pieces. They started with 5 minutes or so of experimental flexing, bordering on avant-garde. By the next piece, Bill Frisell began laying down the melodies that worked well with this trio setting. Many times Eyvind and Bill mirrored each other’s melodies, but Eyvind still was able to cut loose on his own. Rudy knew how to play subtly, but he did let loose a few times as well, especially near the end of their set.

I just got Bill’s new one (History, Mystery); so I don’t know if the songs were from that or not, or just base melodies with improvisation. The set as a whole was very melodic, yet explorative. At several times, Bill pulled out what I thought was an e-bow, but it ended up being a music box that he was playing near his guitar pickup then through an echoplex-type looping device. Very harmonic tones… which would have been intriguing to have gotten from using guitar harmonic picking and an e-bow… alas, I was wrong.

Odd note: again, this was my first time seeing Bill Frisell. Does he always avoid facing the audience? He seemed to be facing towards Eyvind the whole night (so slightly away from the crowd). I never saw his hands or the front of the guitar all night. Odd, but at least the sound was sublime.

This was Bill’s fourth show at The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts over the years. That’s a good indication that he’ll be back. To that I say, “yay!” I hope he brings Eyvind and Rudy with him.

The appropriate links:

In completely unreleated to Frisell/Kang/Royston news, but posted here since I didn’t want to add another post to “the pile”… you can listen to Sigur Rós‘ upcoming album (Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust) streaming here before it comes out in a couple of weeks: medsud-dot


~Dan – np: Ken LasterJazz & Beyond podcast (link)

all pictures (cc) 2008 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

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Thom Yorke & Cincinnati’s MusicNOW 2008 festival (unrelated)

24th Jan 08 (Thu) Leave a comment

I realized as I was typing the title that… whoa, someone might take that the wrong way.  Two separate topics.  Two.  Separate.  Topics.

Thom Yorke‘s got a new solo EP on iTunes with the following tracks:

1) And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix)
2) Skip Divided (Modeselektor Remix)
3) Analyse (Various Remix)

And now for the Festival I wish I could attend, but dammit, I won’t be able to attend…

Last year’s MusicNOW Fest (reviewed by me HERE — sorry for the formatting) had a wonderful line-up including Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond, Pedro Soler, Bryce Dessner (of The National), The Clogs, The Havels, Amiina,  David Cossin, Osso… yadda yadda yadda… best show(s) of the year.

This year’s fest’s lineup has now been announced… Thursday and Friday have me drooling… I dig Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, and Bang on a Can a bit…

Wednesday, April 2nd
An evening of music and film featuring vintage experimental films from the New York Filmmaker’s Cooperative by Robert Breer, Marie Menken, and Harry Smith along with contemporary artists Matthew Ritchie and Bill Morrisson accompanied by festival performers and special guests at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Thursday, April 3rd
An evening of American Guitar with classical guitarist Benjamin Verdery and Bill Frisell’s 858 Quartet, featuring Eyvind Kang, Hank Roberts & Jenny Scheinman, at Memorial Hall

Friday, April 4th
Dirty Projectors and Bang on a Can featuring Glenn Kotche and Bryce Dessner at Memorial Hall

Saturday, April 5th
Andrew Bird and Grizzly Bear at Memorial Hall.

Unfortunately, I can’t make it (first week of the spring term -and- 2,600 miles away).  but if you’re in the vacinity of Cincinnati area… check it out…

~Dan – np: Sinéad O’ConnorTheology

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