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I have been listening to Bill Frisell for quite a few years now. What the heck kind of music does he play? I really like most of what I have heard, especially his interpretations of folk and traditional music. I never thought to much about what to call his unique type of music, mostly because to me his playing is in its own category, but I know I like it. 

Bill Frisell - live at Jazz Alley, Seattle - 2...

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I heard him play last year with Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston (a violist and drummer respectively) and it seemed true to what I expected and know of his work. I went to hear him play at the Village Vanguard in New York and boy howdy what a treat that was. I went with a sense of unease because I have never heard him play with horns and wasn’t sure about the whole bebop/jazz thing with Bill. The drummer and saxophone players seemed steeped in what I hear as modern bebop but Bill Frisell was well, Bill Frisell. 

I can only think of how Thelonious Monk approached the piano; bare, sparse, and angular. Bill’s playing captured that same bare and open playing. I really appreciated the space in his playing, it wasn’t blazing cascading mountains of fast notes but an intriguing angular almost melodic line with the notes placed just right. Something I strive for in my playing. 

Here is an interesting interview with Bill by Scott Nygaard: http://www.acguitar.com/issues/ag113/feature113.html 

Bill Frisell - Joe Lovano - Paul Motian

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A picture of the Japanese 13-stringed koto.

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I went to the first set at The Stone on Sunday the 22nd. The set was with Miya Masaoka (koto, electronics) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Satoshi Takeshi (percussion). It was my first time to The Stone. It is a small club on the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street. It was a rainy soggy day and I was glad to get in out of the rain to hear some music. The koto is an instrument that seems to be all about nuance and subtlety and and at times that element was evident. Other times the ensemble created a wall of sound that brought the instrument into another dimension. Mary Halvorson is a great young guitarist. You should check her out if she comes through your town in any one of her many projects.  I enjoyed Satoshi Takeshi’s percussive additions. He played in an understated quiet way that supported the other musicians. His kit was unconventional in that he sat on the floor and had a series of cymbals and other percussion laid out before him.

 I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at The Stone. A cool little venue with interesting music every night.  I love unconventional combinations of instruments so this was a perfect fit for my tastes.

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Downtown New York

Image by sreevishnu via Flickr

I’m making an effort to get out and hear more LIVE music. Kind of hard to do for a cheap bastard.  Classical music, jazz, folk to outside the box weird ass music, I’ll listen to almost anything. I know, I’m a music slut. I’ll be going into New York tomorrow to hear some musicians playing koto with electronics, guitar, and percussion. 8:00 at the “The Stone”. I’ll update after the show.

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