|Here is a timeline of lesser known important musical events leading up to the time when Bill Frisell began to record more extensively in the 80's. This is not meant to be a complete biography - Bill used his not so good memory for most of this. It may not be completely accurate but should give a pretty good approximation.
William Richard Frisell
1951 Born in Baltimore, Maryland, March 18
Moved with his parents to Denver, Colorado
1953 Bill's brother Robert Benjamin was born (June 3)
1955 Built his first guitar out of a piece of cardboard and some rubber bands for strings after being inspired by Jimmy, leader of the Mousekateers on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show.
1960 Began study of the clarinet. Joined the "Gold Sash Band," a marching and concert band he would be involved in for eight years. Studied clarinet privately with Jack Stevens, the band's director. It was here where he really learned the fundamentals of music. Also played clarinet in the Teller Elementary School band directed by Jack Fredrickson.
1962 Bill really looked up to his older friend George Kawamoto, who lived across the street. George was playing guitar by this time and Bill wanted to also. The first things he tried to learn were by the Ventures and the Astronauts. Got his first "real guitar" for Christmas - a 20 dollar archtop.
1963 Bought his first record "Little Deuce Coupe/Surfer Girl", by the Beach Boys, a 45 rpm single. Entered Gove Jr. High School. Played in the school band directed by Charles Fields. Began playing tenor saxophone.
1964 Traveled to New York for the first time to perform at the World's Fair with the "Gold Sash Band." Saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Took some guitar lessons from Bob Marcus at the Denver Folklore Center. This was a fantastic music store, record shop, concert hall, and meeting place for musicians, where he heard about Paul Butterfield, Otis Spann, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Elizabeth Cotton, and many others. It was here where he heard Frank Zappa's "Freak Out" album for the first time.
1965 Bought his first electric guitar with money earned on a paper route (Fender Mustang guitar and Deluxe amp) at Happy Logan Music. Went to Herman's Hermits concert (first live concert). Started first band with Greg Jones on drums and Tony Eberhart on guitar ("The Weeds").
1966 Started going to many more live concerts (Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, Ravi Shankar, James Brown). Started East High School and continued playing clarinet in the school band directed by Vincent Tagliavore. Other East High students included Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Wolfolk who were in a band called the "Mellow Mystics." After high school, they all went to Los Angeles and joined "Earth Wind and Fire."
1967 Began clarinet studies with Richard Joiner of the Denver Symphony. Learned Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin On Sunset" and performed it at the all school talent show with Mike Ringler on drums and Bob Chamberlain on bass. This eventually evolved into the "Soul Merchants" with Chauncy Blakely or Victor Cooper on vocals, Keary Nitta, tenor sax, Rick Yamamoto, alto sax, and Ken Wright, trumpet. Played songs by James Brown and The Temptations at school dances and fraternity parties. Went to "Interlochen Arts Academy" for the summer. Went to more concerts: Big Brother & the Holding Company, Sons of Champlin, Electric Flag, Chuck Berry, Canned Heat, Blue Cheer...
1968 Played in the "McDonald's All American High School Band" at the Rose bowl Parade in Los Angeles and the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Went to a Charles Lloyd concert. The band included Keith Jarrett, Ron McClure, and Paul Motian. Heard Gary Burton, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley, and Dionne Warwick at a jazz festival at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
1969 Began guitar lessons with Dale Bruning who brought to his attention Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Jim Hall, Bill Evans, Charles Ives and so many others for the first time. Bruning helped Bill apply many of the theoretical things he had learned on clarinet to the guitar and opened up the whole world of jazz. His parents moved to South Orange, New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Made his first visit to the Village Vanguard where he would eventually hear Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, Gary Burton, Thad Jones&Mel Lewis, Elvin Jones, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Rouse, Hank Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, and Chick Corea. Went to hear Lou Rawls and Al Kooper in Central Park instead of going to Woodstock. Started studies at the University of Northern Colorado as a music major on clarinet. Played tenor saxophone and guitar in the big bands.
1970 With UNC Jazz band went to intercollegiate jazz festivals in Salt Lake City, Utah and Champaign Urbana, Illinois. Won outstanding soloist awards at both festivals. Judges included Quincy Jones, Gary Burton, Oliver Nelson, Cannonball Adderley, Benny Carter. Continued studies with Dale Bruning. Also studied with Johnny Smith at UNC. Heard Miles Davis Group with Gary Bartz, Michael Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Airto, and Keith Jarrett. Played in the group "Joshua" with other UNC students - Lyle Waller-trombone, John Sherberg-electric piano, Bob Gillis-trumpet, Keary Nitta-saxophone, Fred Hamilton-bass, Alan Aluisi-drums.
1971 Decided to stop playing clarinet and saxophone and to concentrate on the guitar only. Jim Hall came to Denver to play for a week at the Senate Lounge with Bill's teacher Dale Bruning on bass and guitar. Bill met Jim for the first time there. Attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for one semester. Went to the Jazz Workshop and Paul's Mall in Boston for the first time where he would eventually hear Hubert Laws, Herbie Hancock, Larry Corryell, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Liebman, McCoy Tyner, Anthony Braxton, Sonny Rollins, the Tony Williams Lifetime, Bill Evans, the MJQ, Pat Martino, Ron Carter, Dave Sanborn, B.B. King, James Cotton, Pat Metheny, Stuff, Gary Burton, and others. Heard Jim Hall and Ron Carter Duet at "The Guitar" in New York City.
1972 Studied for eight weeks with Jim Hall in NYC. Heard Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard. Moved back to Colorado and continued studies with Dale Bruning. Played in the "Bermuda Brass," a small big band that played Glenn Miller arrangements. The Bill Evans Trio performed for a week at the "Senate Lounge" - Bill was there almost every night and had the opportunity to meet him. Taught guitar lessons at Gordon Close's Melody Music. One of Bill students at the time was Kenny Vaughn, a great guitarist now living in Nashville who plays with Lucinda Williams and many others.
1973-74 Continued teaching, performed jazz gigs around Denver with Bob Gillis and Dale Bruning at places like the Folklore Center, Global Village, Downstairs Lounge. Recorded a few local commercial jingles, went to jam sessions, and played shows with Rod McCuen, Frank Gorshin. Met and played a lot with Mike Miller, a guitarist who influenced Bill a lot at the time.
1975-77 Returned to Boston and the Berklee College of Music where, on the first day, he met Kermit Driscoll. He also met and played with Tiger Okoshi, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Vinnie Johnson, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tommy Campbell, Leni Stern, Joe Lovano, Hank Roberts, Lowell Davidson, Donald Rubinstein. Studied jazz guitar with John Damian and arranging and composition with Mike Gibbs and Herb Pomeroy. Played in a top 40 band, "The Boston Connection," with Kermit Driscoll and Vinnie Colaiuta. Played often at "Michael's" and "Pooh's Pub." Heard Michael Gregory Jackson who's way of playing would be very influential.
1978 Moved to Belgium to play in a band with Steve Houben, Greg Badolato, Vinnie Johnson, Kermit Driscoll, resulting in first record, "Mauve Traffic." Began writing his own music. Met Carole D'Inverno who he would marry one year later. Heard Ornette Coleman at the North Sea Jazz Festival. On two separate occasions during the festival Ornette approached Bill and asked, "Where did you get that Coke?" and "What's back here?" Toured England with Mike Gibbs' Orchestra which included Charlie Mariano, Kenny Wheeler, and Eberhard Weber. Recorded on Eberhard Weber's "Fluid Rustle" with Gary Burton for ECM. This is where Bill first met Manfred Eicher.
1979-80 Moved to New Jersey/New York City area. Met and played with D. Sharpe, Bob Moses, Percy Jones, Mike Clark, Dave Samuels, Julius Hemphill, Billy Drewes, Tom Rainey, Scott Lee, Ratzo Harris, Nick Pike... Played club dates, weddings... Played with "Men Working" with Alan Brower. Recorded with Chet Baker in Belgium. Played at NY clubs "7th Avenue South" and "55 Grand St."
1981 On Pat Metheny's recommendation, Bill played with Paul Motian for the first time. Toured Europe as a duo with Eberhard Weber. Met Thomas St÷wsand who worked at ECM at the time and is now Bill's European agent. At ECM he also met Hans Wendl who later worked as Bill's manager and now handles his publishing. First European tour with Paul Motian and recording of Motian's album "Psalm" for ECM. Also recorded "Paths, Prints" with Jan Garbarek. Recorded a track on "Amarcord Nino Rota," his first recording under his own name and first of many collaborations with producer Hal Willner.
1982 Recorded "In Line" for ECM, his first album under his own name. Met John Zorn at the Soho Music Gallery where he was working at the time.
1983 Met Bob Hurwitz who worked for ECM in New York. Bob would later take over Nonesuch Records.
1984 Recorded "Rambler"... Toured with Julius Hemphill
1985 Daughter Monica Jane was born...
1986 Played duet concert with Jim Hall at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Started the first band under his own name with Kermit Driscoll, Joey Baron, and Hank Roberts. Recorded "Lookout For Hope," his first band record and first time he worked with Lee Townsend as producer. Lee is now Bill's manager.
1987 Left ECM and began present relationship with Nonesuch Records. Performed at the Knitting Factory in New York playing the music of Robin Holcomb with Doug Wieselman and John Zorn's composition "Hu Die" with Fred Frith and Ruby Chang during the Knitting Factory's first series of concerts.
1988 Bill's friend, Betty Berkin, gave him a John Hiatt record, "Bring the Family" with Jim Keltner, Ry Cooder, and Nick Lowe. He became a big fan of all these guys
1989 Recorded "Is That You?" with Wayne Horvitz as producer for the first time Moved with his family to Seattle.
Since then, Bill's work has been very well documented on his many recordings. His performance schedule has been more and more taken up with his own projects. He continues to play with Paul Motian's Trio with Joe Lovano and has also performed with Jim Hall, Don Byron, Ginger Baker, Charlie Haden, David Sanborn, Marianne Faithful, Elvis Costello, Ron Carter, and the Hal Willner produced tribute to Harry Smith. He performed Steve Mackey's composition "Deal" at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies and in Los Angeles with members of the L.A. Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. As he is also becoming more active as a film composer, Bill's music can be heard in Gary Larson's "Tales from the Farside," Gus van Sant's "Psycho" and "Finding Forrester," Rory Kennedy's documentary for HBO, "American Hollow," and Wim Wenders's "Million Dollar Hotel" (with Brian Blade, Jon Hassell, Bono, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Greg Cohen, and Adam Dorn.) He has also written music for the Frankfurt Ballett and the ACT Theatre's production of "Temporary Help." He has been featured on TV on "Night Music," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and "Sessions at West 54th Street."
When he's home, he likes to play at clubs like "The Tractor Tavern". He continues to work with Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb - and it was in the Northwest where he had the opportunity to meet many musicians and artists who have been an inspiration, such as Eyvind Kang, Michael Shrieve, Kevin Sawka, Danny Barnes, Keith Lowe, Christos Govetas, Martin Hayes, Boubacar Traore, Sidiki Camara, the film director Gus van Sant, cartoonists Jim Woodring and Gary Larson, the painter Claude Utley and so many others.
|This Bio Is Reprinted From WWW.Songtone.Com|