Bill Frisell's Musical Colleagues
Guitarist Bill Frisell explores the musical possibilities of his own multi-faceted compositions and time-honored jazz and folk songs with this ever-evolving constellation of extraordinary musicians. Their diverse backgrounds and talents provide a wide-open climate to interpret the full spectrum of Frisell's repertoire where an integration of many musical directions becomes possible.
Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers featuring Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston I've been playing with Eyvind Kang and Rudy Royston since the early nineties. More recently we've begun playing as a trio and I'm so excited by the possibilities. Each time we get together the music feels new....and old. Backwards and forwards. Up and down. Anything is possible. I can't wait to hear what happens next. I feel very fortunate having the chance to play music with these guys and to have an audience willing to follow along on this latest adventure.
Bill Frisell on the 858 Quartet
"Originally the music for this group was written for and inspired by eight Gerhard Richter paintings (858, 1-8). A project was put together and produced by my friend, David Breskin. The Richter paintings are where this began, but the chemistry felt so good with these folks, I have written more music and will continue to do so as it develops on into the future. The group consists of Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola), and Hank Roberts (cello). For me, this has been a chance to write for my dream string section and also a reunion with one of my best friends, Hank Roberts. Hank was in my first band and we hadn't played together or even seen each other for many years."
Bill Frisell on his trio with Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen
"My trio with Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen is probably the most flexible, spontaneous group I play with. The program can change from night to night depending on what kind of mood we're all in, the size or sound of the room, the audience, what we have or had not had to eat that day, how much sleep we've had recently, how far we've traveled, etc. etc. We never plan a set before hand. With Tony and Kenny I have the luxury of playing just about anything that comes into my head at any moment. This could be music from any of my albums, standard songs, folk songs, or whatever. These guys really inspire and challenge me everytime we get together."
Bill Frisell on his duo with Greg Leisz:
"The first time I played with Greg Leisz was on my recording Good Dog, Happy Man. From the first notes we played together I felt completely connected to him musically. It's like he's the other half of my brain....He plays all of the things I wish I could play, but can't. We never figure anything out....it's so easy for us to play spontaneously and not get in each other's way. He's spent many years playing behind singers and I've spent many years trying to play like a singer. Maybe that's why it works so well. He also has an incredible knowledge of all kinds of American music from the early part of the 20th century on up to today. There's so much I learn from him. We've played together often over the past couple of years, but always in the context of my group. For a long time now we've both wanted to play in a duet setting and see what might happen."
Joey Baron's early musical education included private drum lessons as well as the wide variety of radio programing of the 1960s. After finishing high school early through a special accelerated program, Mr. Baron attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He settled in Los Angeles, California in 1975 to realize a dream of playing with the great jazz musician Carmen McRae, consequently becoming a frequent collaborator of singers. Since moving to New York City in 1983, Mr. Baron has continued to expand his scope and develop his musical ideas through collaborations with various artists including Red Rodney, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Ron Carter, and John Zorn. Current projects include solo concert tours, duo concerts with Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell, his own band, "Killer Joey", The John Abercrombie Quartet, and the Schulkowsky, Studer, Baron drum trio.
Drummer Matt Chamberlain (left) is much in demand as a session and touring musician. He has worked extensively with Tori Amos, as well as David Bowie, Brad Mehldau, Garbage, Fiona Apple and David Torn, among others. He has played on and off with Bill for the past couple of years. He lives in Los Angeles. Matt also is a member of the Floratone ensemble, which has released Floratone and Floratone II.
Bassist Viktor Krauss (right) studied music in his hometown of Champaign at the University of Illinois. His first recording as a leader, Far From Enough, featuring Jerry Douglas, Bill Frisell, Steve Jordan and Allison Krauss was released in 2003. His most recent recording titled II features Matt Chamberlain and Dean Parks with special guests Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin & Ben Taylor. For many years, he has been Lovett's bass player. Viktor first worked with Frisell on his landmark recording, Nashville. Together with drum legend Jim Keltner, he provided his distinctive musical approach to Frisell¹s two celebrated late-90;s releases, Good Dog, Happy Man and Gone, Just Like A Train. He also plays on Frisell’s live album, East/West. Over the years, he has appeared on recordings with many other great musicians, including Graham Nash, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and many others.
Greg Leisz has been much in demand for playing country, folk, pop and rock music with such artists as Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Beck, KD Lang, Randy Newman, Dave Alvin, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole, Fiona Apple , Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, John Mayer, Matthew Sweet and Joe Cocker. Leisz lives in his native Los Angeles and is well-known for his mastery of a variety of guitars and string instruments including pedal steel, dobro, National, Hawaiian Weissenborn, lap steel and mandolin, all of which he plays on Frisell's CD's, Blues Dream, Good Dog, Happy Man and The Intercontinentals and All We Are Saying. Greg also performs with Bill in both duo and larger group formats.
Denver based trumpeter Ron Miles is much sought after for his unique sound and artistry by performers as diverse as Bill Frisell, Ginger Baker, Madeleine Peyroux, Don Byron, Matt Wilson, Myra Melford, Ben Goldberg, Wayne Horvitz, Fred Hess's Boulder Creative Music Ensemble, the Ellington Orchestra, and many others. His longstanding relationship with Bill Frisell began almost two decades ago and has resulted in countless collaborations, including Ron’s new trio album with Brian Blade, Quiver (2012, Enja Records) and their duo recording Heaven (2002, Sterling Circle). Ron has appeared on many of Frisell's recordings, from Quartet (1996, Nonesuch) to last year’s The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved (Paris/429 Records) and has toured with him extensively throughout the word. Ron is a music professor at the Denver Metropolitan State College.
A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He studied classical percussion at the University of Denver. While in college, Rudy began playing with trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. It was on Ron Miles’ recording Woman’s Day that Rudy first played with Bill Frisell. A major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with artist such as Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, and Nelson Rangell. He began teaching music in public schools before relocating to the east coast. In 2006, he moved to New Jersey to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, studying Jazz percussion with Victor Lewis. Since moving, Rudy has begun performing steadily with Bill Frisell in quartet and trio settings. He quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with Javon Jackson, Les McCann, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jennifer Holiday, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, Don Byron, Jason Moran, and Jenny Scheinmenn, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.
Violinist Jenny Scheinman grew up in Northern California, studied at Oberlin Conservatory and in New York with Gerald Beal. Aside from being a member of Frisell’s Unspeakable Orchestra and his 858 Quartet, she was in The Intercontinentals, appearing on the Grammy-nominated album of the same name. She also performs in Frisell’s trios with Ron Miles and Greg Leisz. Jenny leads a number of her own groups with constantly fluctuating guests and works frequently with Madeleine Peyroux, Marc Ribot, Vinicius Cantuaria and Scott Amendola. She also has played with Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Myra Melford, Nels Cline, John Zorn, among others. Her own recordings include 12 Songs, Shalagaster, The Rabbi’s Lover, Live at Yoshi’s, The Django Project and Giant Trio. Jenny also appears on the new album by Lucinda Williams as well as a number of CD’s produced by Lee Townsend with singers Cantuaria (from Brazil), Shweta Jhaveri (from India), Gabriela (from Argentina) and fellow Californian Paul Sprawl. She first played with Frisell on Gabriela’s recording Viento Rojo. Early in her career she lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently lives in New York City.
Violist Eyvind Kang (left) has worked extensively with Bill Frisell and Laurie Anderson, as well as written arrangements for Sunn O))), Blonde Redhead, and many others. He has also released many acclaimed albums of original music, including the choral piece Athlantis (2007), The Yelm Sessions (2007), and Virginal Co-ordinates (2004). His teachers have included legendary jazz violinist Michael White, Dr. N. Rajam, and Dr. Hossein Omoumi.
Hank Roberts (right) has created a unique and original voice on the cello through an extensive body of music as a performer, composer and recording artist. He has performed and recorded throughout the world with a host of celebrated musicians. With 10 CD’s on the Munich based ‘Winter and Winter’ label, his album 'Green’ (featuring touring partners Jim Black and Marc Ducret) won the 2008 German Recording Critics’ Award in the Jazz category.
He also tours and performs regularly with guitarist Bill Frisell’s ‘858 Quartet’ and has appeared on Bill’s Grammy Award winning CD ‘Unspeakable’, Grammy nominated 'History/Mystery' and the 2011 Savoy release ‘Sign of Life’. He recently played with Bill’s 8 piece ensemble at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan performing music for Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Kaddish’ poem read by Hal Willner and Chloe Webb. Hank has performed once, a few times or many times with the following: Gavin Friday, Bono, The Edge, Joel Grey, Larry Mullen Jr, Michelle Berry, Andy Summers, Antony, Adam Clayton, Sting, Anne Marie Cummings, John Zorn, Shane McGowen, Flo and Eddie, Pat Metheny, Mike Gibbs, Lydia Lunch, David Sanborn, Zbigniev Sweifert, Mamadou Diabate, Donna the Buffalo, Julius Hemphil, and Gary Burton, Donna the Buffalo, Ti Ti Chickapea, and Ethan Iverson and Dave King from The Bad Plus.
Although Tony Scherr (left) is perhaps best known for his work as a bassist in a number of Bill Frisell’s bands, Steven Bernstein’s Sexmob and Willie Nelson, he is also a prolific guitarist and songwriter in his own right as well as a Grammy nominated producer. His songs have made their way into indie-rock chanteuse Feist’s live sets as well as on to her breakthrough release Let It Die, and his performance of Jesse Harris’ You The Queen landed in Ethan Hawke’s film, The Hottest State. Scherr has two recordings of his own, Twist in the Wind and Come Around on Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley’s indie label, Smells Like Records. He is one of the busiest sidemen in New York City with recent recording credits on new albums by Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones and Teddy Thompson. His anomalous Monday night weekly residency at Marion’s Marquee Lounge on the Bowery is now in its second year running. As a bassist he has contributed to projects by Joey Baron, John Scofield, Maria Schneider, John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards and many others.
A ubiquitous presence on the New York downtown scene, drummer Kenny Wollesen's (right) latest projects include collaborating with Cyro Baptista on the Sound of Community Project, playing bass drum with the marching band Himalayas, playing vibes in a plethora of John Zorn bands, playing drums regularly with Sexmob, Love Trio, Bill Frisell, U-Roy and he is a founding member of Wollesonic Laboratories.
Born in 1963 and raised in Berkeley California, Claudia Engelhart (below) has been a professional live-sound engineer for 30 years. She began her career working in the historic San Francisco jazz club Keystone Korner. In 1983 she moved to New York City and continued mixing sound in clubs such as CBGB’s, The Bitter End, and S.O.B.’s, and then in 1985 began touring full time, internationally, as a front of house engineer.
Since 1989 Claudia has been working full time for guitarist Bill Frisell. She has recorded two live albums for Frisell, “East/West”, and “Bill Frisell Live”. She has also mixed and recorded just about all of his live concerts over the past 22 years, which has resulted in a “Live Download Series”, concert recordings available for download on Frisell’s website.
When not on tour with Frisell, Claudia has toured extensively with many other renowned artists including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash, Michael Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., John Patitucci, Dave Holland, John Scofield, Joe Henry, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, Rosa Passos, Medeski Martin & Wood, John Zorn, The Kronos Quartet, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.
She has worked on special projects with such artists as Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Allan Toussaint, Mose Allison, Bettye Lavette, Billy Bragg, Buddy Miller, Rickie Lee Jones, Van Dyke Parks, Lauden Wainwright III, Suzanne Vega, The Campbell Brothers and Chip Taylor.