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Frisell draws upon many for his distinctive sound.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Seattle jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, whose work ranges from mellow and melodic to modern and challenging, comes to the Shedd on Tuesday to perform with his 858 Quartet.

Frisell, guitarist of the year numerous times and in numerous years by various publications, draws together a wide range of musical influences.

"Frisell makes such consistently great records that it would be easy to take the guitarist for granted," Billboard says. "That would be sad, since no one refracts age-old Americana through a cutting-edge prism with the warm-hearted, fleet-minded individuality of Frisell."

Born in Baltimore, Frisell played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio, especially blues players such as Otis Rush, B.B. King, Paul Butterfield and Buddy Guy.

In 1978, Frisell moved for a year to Belgium, where he concentrated on writing music. In that period, he toured with Michael Gibbs and first re- corded with German bassist Eberhard Weber.

Frisell lists Paul Motian, Thelonious Monk, Aaron Copland, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and his teacher, Dale Bruning, as musical influences.

"When I was 16, I was listening to a lot of surfing music, a lot of English rock,' Frisell told Wire. `Then I saw Wes Montgomery, and somehow that kind of turned me around.

`Later, Jim Hall made a big impression on me and I took some lessons with him. I suppose I play the kind of harmonic things Jim would play, but with a sound that comes from Jimi Hendrix."

Frisell recorded his first two albums as a leader on ECM, both produced by Manfred Eicher. Subdued and lyrical in nature, "In Line," the first of the ECM recordings, employed both electric and acoustic guitars in a series of solos and duets with bassist Arild Andersen.

Moviegoers can hear Frisell playing alongside Bono, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and Daniel Lanois on the soundtrack of Wim Wenders' film, "Million Dollar Hotel."

He also composed and recorded original soundtrack music for two Gus Van Sant films - "Finding Forrester" and the remake of "Psycho" - and the music for Gary Larson's second animated television project, "Tales From the Far Side II."

His album "Unspeakable" won a 2005 Grammy for best contemporary jazz album.

Frisell formed the 858 Quartet - with Jenny Scheinman on violin, Eyvind Kang on viola and Hank Roberts on cello - two years ago to perform a commissioned work inspired by the paintings of German artist Gerhard Richter.

Reach Bob Keefer at 338-2325 or


Bill Frisell & the 858 Quartet

What: Grammy-winning jazz guitarist

Where: Jaqua Concert Hall, the Shedd, 285 E. Broadway

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Tickets: $24 to $34, 434-7000

Also: Pre-concert 6 p.m. dinner at the Shedd, $17.50, by reservation only, 434-7000


Bill Frisell plays the Shedd on Tuesday with three of his non-canine friends: the 858 Quartet.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; Master guitarist mixes lots of influences for something all his own
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 17, 2006
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