Bill's Favorites


For Artie Shaw's 104th Birthday Anniversary,

Two Uncut Interviews from April, 2002

by Ted Panken

In 2002, Jazziz assigned me to interview Artie Shaw for a mid-length piece on the occasion of a self-selected CD box set. I posted the text on the occasion of Shaw’s birthday three years ago, not long after I’d started the blog. At the time, I stated I’d hold off on putting out the raw transcripts until another day… I think you’ll find them entertaining. The first interview happened off-the-cuff; I was calling Shaw’s assistant to set up an interview time, he picked up the phone, and told me to proceed right then and there. For the second one, I had some time to plan. Twelve years later, I have to say I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him at such length.

Read the Interview HERE



Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins on Retiring His Sax, His Legacy, and the Secret to Life




Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication is a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg beginning in the 1960s. It focuses on three aspects of communication: self-empathy (defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one's own inner experience), empathy (defined as an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person), and honest self-expression (defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).

Nonviolent Communication is based on the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and only resort to violence or behavior that harms others when they don't recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs. Habits of thinking and speaking that lead to the use of violence (psychological and physical) are learned through culture. NVC theory supposes all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs and that these needs are never in conflict. Rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that if people can identify their needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs, harmony can be achieved.

While NVC is ostensibly taught as a process of communication designed to improve compassionate connection to others, it has also been interpreted as a spiritual practice, a set of values, a parenting technique, an educational method and a worldview.


More info HERE



Monica Jane Frisell, a photographer living and working out of a 1988 Toyota Seabreeze

A collection of portraits and stories of people I meet on and off the road. Each person agreeing to be a part of this project, sharing a story, and having their photograph taken, will receive a small print of someone else. The images and stories will be shared here as they come. 

~ Monica Jane Frisell



Dap-Kings' Gabriel Roth recalls Sharon Jones' last days 

"She was the strongest person any of us had ever known,

and she just kept singing. She didn't want to stop singing"

- Gabriel Roth


Sharon Jones

Click HERE for the LA Times article




Ethan Iverson's blog

- Do The Math -


The Soul of Dennis Budimir

Soul of Dennis BudimirToward the end of high school I heard the music of Wes Montgomery ...which led me to Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney....and then...beyond...not just the guitarists...Miles, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Monk. Music. You know what I mean. My imagination was exploding with all these exciting new discoveries. Eventually I came across Dennis Budimir....his recordings with Chico Hamilton ... WOW! a guitarist playing with Eric Dolphy!!!!...and his own recordings with Gary Peacock, Albert Stinson, Jim Keltner, and others. Man! I couldn't believe it. His lines...musical ideas always seemed to go further than what I was expecting. The sound of surprise. The doors for what might be possible on the guitar had been blown wide open. I thought "this is the guitar music of the future."  It still sounds that way to me now. Most of Dennis' music I was listening to was from the late 50s early 60s. I lost track of him for a little while only to discover he had been working as a studio musician in LA (now known as one of the "Wrecking Crew") and had played on much of the popular music I grew up with as well as TV and movie soundtracks. Everything. He's been such a big part the soundtrack and fabric of my whole musical life. Amazing. And discover this more recent album ..."the Soul of Dennis Budimir". What a joy to hear his sound again and his one of a kind way of singing these beautiful melodies. Nobody sounds like him. There is only one Dennis Budimir. 

Thank you Dennis!!
Bill Frisell 



The three rules of life, according to Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson

1) Do not be afraid of anyone. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you weren't afraid of anyone?
2) Have a great bullshit detector, and learn how to use it, and how to apply it. 
3) Be tender: Be open to the world, and in love with everything and everyone in it. 

Bonus fourth rule: Practice how to feel sad without being sad.




a poem by Rudyard Kipling.  Muhammad Ali likes this poem...

"If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,..."   

entire poem HERE



Tina Fey’s Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat

published April 26th, 2011 on


The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.

Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.

As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. “No, we can’t do that.” “No, that’s not in the budget.” “No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar.” What kind of way is that to live?

The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.

To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.

The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.

In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”

MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.

Instead of saying “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” Okay, “Here we are in Spain, Dracula” may seem like a terrible start to a scene, but this leads us to the best rule:

THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities. If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what? Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field. In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.

*Improv will not reduce belly fat

Original Article HERE




Santa Ana winds blow, Elario's wakes up
Bill's first trip to California with his own band, October 17th, 1990

The eastern eccentrics arrived cautiously for their first San Diego gig.  Dressed in thrift store faded clothes, they tuned bass, cello, and keyless electric guitar. Bill Frisell’s  shy smile gave his bald pate drummer the go ahead. Soon they rumbled with flashing treasures for the curious.

A blues tune grew into not unlike Willie Dixon’s “You Shook Me”.  The lanky cello man had some strong licks.  He was dressed most out of place for fashion conscious La Jolla- yellow T-shirt with a bumblebee blowing saxophone, and blue checkered pants with sneakers.  Frisell’s black t-shirt and navy chinos upgraded the band’s wardrobe.

Bill's first band, around 1990But the lack of southern California apparel was a plus and these guys knew it. Om-paa-pa calliope sounds pumped from the blues.  Joey on the traps soared, private jokes passed between he and Frisell.  Drum slaps followed quick on the heels of lead riffs.
The next tune begins with a cold wind on guitar.  Bare trees rattle on a fogged window.  Back outside an actual reflection of the bass players face and drummer’s smile looks like  a television screen floating over the red light intersection, here at eleven stories up.

With a jump, our ears snap from a cacophony of bird song in agonizing flight; as if eluding a hungry beast. Frisell is an electric monster beckoning the apocalypse (and this from a man who on an NPR interview claims he’s too shy to sing in the shower).

A prancing devil wails like Pan; high-pitched pipes and clacking hooves. The source being both guitar and rim hits on the snare.  Again the tune falls quickly into a new thought, Brazilian swing, and ending with a few bars of Ventures for the surfers present.

The band’s cohesive sound with one instrument rising, another gliding in, has immediacy as did John McGlaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.  A country theme follows with sage odor over Norwegian icy fjords. Digging deep into their creative pockets these New Yorkers became cowboys leading a tattered wagon.  The dusty lace curtains behind the wagon master concealed heavy lidded whores, with cherry wet lips and fingers weighted of turquoise rings.

A dry dust swirled under the elaborate chandelier here in Elario’s, sticking to the velvet curtains. Outside a real gust blew with the autumn Santa Ana wind.  The whores lifted their veils and blew sweet kisses of sound for us all. 

After the show we drove east through the remains.  Patio umbrellas littered the climb up Torrey Pines Road.  And on the freeway, the severed body of a coyote, shiny crimson under a brief flash of headlights.

Frisell and his crew had stretched the limits.

- by Dan Pater




"I first heard Michael Gregory Jackson in 1975 when I moved to Boston. He blew my mind and influenced me a LOT. I believe he's one of the unsung innovators. Here is a poster from a gig I went to in 1977. This was the first time I heard Anthony Davis and Paul Maddox (aka Pheeroan Ak Laff). It was awesome. is a picture of Michael and me from a few days ago in Portland, Maine."

- Bill Frisell, July 1st, 2015 

Bill with Michael Gregory JacksonConcert flier from 1977




Bob Dylan: The Uncut Interview
(AARP The Magazine, Feb/Mar 2015)
AARP The Magazine-Real Possibilities



Jon Damian was my guitar teacher when I attended the
Berklee School of Music back in the mid 70s. He had a huge impact on me and
continues to be an inspiration. His fantastic new book, "Fresh Music"
can be found on his web site.
Jon Damian's book "Fresh Music"


Willie Nelson's parking spot, Arlyn Studios, Austin, TX

Willie Nelson's parking spot


Kenny Wollesen & Wollesonic Labratories

Facebook page HERE

YouTube CD Release Video HERE








Sonny Rollins responds to a controversial New Yorker article.


A photo of Dewey Redman, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Charlie Haden, Amina Claudine Myers & Paul Motian.  April 1990 during the Liberation Music Orchestra's "Dreamkeeper" recording session.
"From left to right.
Dewey Redman, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Charlie Haden, Amina Claudine Myers, Paul Motian.
This photo was taken at the Liberation Music Orchestra's "Dreamkeeper" recording session, April, 1990.
Thanks to Hans Wendl.
Photo by Cheung Ching-Ming"

The New York Times
No Time To Think
by Kate Murphy
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore.
The link to the full article HERE.


A quote from Carl Sandburg: What are these dialects deep under the bones whereby the people of all ages and races far apart reach out and say the same clay is in all, bringing out men whose eyes search the earth and see no aliens anywhere, pronouncing across the barriers the peculiar word: "brother"?


Ted Panken's Interview with Artie Shaw (2002)





Forgotten Heroes: Bruce Langhorne

Bruce Langhorne photo

Premier Guitar published a wonderful article about Bruce, HERE.


An important article from Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke Parks photo

"In the digital age, the idea that everything is free
has brought genuine hardship to the music business
in general and to composers most of all."
- The Daily Beast
Click HERE for the article


Agnes Martin:
"To celebrate the great painter, Google Doodle offers meditative muted beauty"
Read the article on The Washington Post HERE



Prisoner’s 39-Panel Allegorical Mural
Made From Bedsheets, Hair Gel and Stacks of Newspapers
Pristoner's 39 Panel Allegorical Mural
Click HERE to be directed to the article


  Carole D'Inverno, Painter

Carole D'Inverno's painting

Click HERE to read the interview



is a phantom island that appeared on virtually all of the maps
of the North Atlantic from the 1560s through the 1660s.
Frisland map
Click HERE to read more


Bill went to East High School in Denver
along with Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Wolfolk. 
There was a great music program there at the time.
They all played together in the concert band
under the direction of Vincent Tagliavore.
external link below:


Downbeat Magazine fan article mentions Bill is a wedding band singer.



Photo taken by Bill, September 11th, 2013.

Richard Diebenkorn notes on beginning a painting




Big Sur



Interview with trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith about the masterwork, Ten Freedom Summers.

April 4th, 2013


Quote from Helena Morris

Quote by Fred Rogers

Quote by John Cage - 1928


Letter to John Cage, from Woody Guthrie



"I believe there are techniques of the human mind whereby, in it's dark deep,
problems are examined, rejected or accepted. Such activities sometimes concern
facets a man does not know he has. How often one goes to sleep troubled and full
of pain, not knowing what causes the travail, and in the morning a whole new
direction and a clearness is there, maybe the result of the black reasoning. And
again there are mornings where ecstasy bubbles in the blood, and the stomach and
chest are tight and electric with joy, and nothing in the thoughts to justify it
or cause it."

by John Steinbeck, East of Eden



"In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply
limited by hurry. So often men trip by being in a rush. If one were properly to
perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be
achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget
it completely and concentrate solely on the means. By this method he would not
be moved to false action by anxiety or hurry or fear. Very few people learn

by John Steinbeck, East of Eden



Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived his whole life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and sober. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then - the glory - so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.

I don't know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.

At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I might fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory be killed, we are lost.

by John Steinbeck - quote from "East of Eden"



A bit contraversial to CBS, Miles Davis suggests the name of his new album.

Bitches Brew, 1969



left to right:

Tony Scherr, Bill Frisell, Kenny Wollesen




Sun, 29 Jan 2012

"Last night I was talking to Fred Taylor...and was trying to remember

and write down all the music I heard at his clubs (Jazz Workshop and

Paul's Mall) in the 70s in Boston. Here are some of them...." - Bill

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to
tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era
of corruption in high places will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working
upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few
hands and the Republic is destroyed."
~ Abraham Lincoln
Nov. 21, 1864


Ginger Baker and Bill

Their first album working together. Ginger Baker's CD "Going Back Home" 1994



Bill's Websites of Interest

More to come....


photo by Michael Wilson from the Blues Dream sessions, February 4, 2000 in Burbank, California.