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.

Big Sur Quintet

Bill on his Big Sur Quintet
I chose my 858 Quartet (violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang and cellist Hank Roberts) because I've 
known them for decades, they're close friends.  It's about these particular people and the chemical and human interaction.  We've been together for about 10 years.... but I wanted to have drums.  Rudy Royston is another of my closest musical brothers.  He always knows exactly what to do to lift things up and surprise me.  I am so excited to have him be a part of this.  So we added Rudy Royston, the drummer who plays in my Beautiful Dreamers trio-so I'm calling it the Big Sur Quintet.  It's only five of us, but its either super-intimate, or very huge and orchestral.  The possibilities are gigantic.

 

 
 
 
Bill Frisell's John Lennon tribute band (All We Are Saying) featuring Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinman, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen. (below)
Come together. In 1963 I was starting to get really fired up about music and the guitar. I was hearing The Ventures, The Astronauts, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, Peter Paul and Mary...stuff like that on the radio. Louie Louie. American Bandstand.  1964. I saw an article in Time magazine about a group called the Beatles. About 45  years later, in the fall of 2005, I had a European tour set up with Jenny Scheinman and Greg Leisz. For our first concert we were asked to play the music of John Lennon as part of an event that was going on at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. We went to Paris. It was so inspiring preparing for this concert and spending time with John Lennon's music.  In 2010 I was asked to do a 3 night residency at Yoshi's with a different project each night. Seemed like a good moment to play John Lennon's music again. This time we added Kenny Wollesen and Tony Scherr to the group. Not long after this, I began a relationship with Savoy, and they gave us the opportunity to record.
 
John Lennon's music has been with me, the band, everybody, the world...seems like forever. The songs are part of us. In our blood. There was nothing we really needed to do to prepare for this. We've been preparing our whole lives. The songs are there. All we had to do was play them.  Everyone involved with this project (Jenny Scheinman, Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, Lee Townsend, Adam Munoz, everyone at Savoy, and at Fantasy Studios) has their own personal, deep, long, relationship to John Lennon's music. It connects us all and brings us together. I feel blessed having the chance to play this music with these people.

 

 

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."

 
 

Floratone:
Floratone features the core group of Bill Frisell on guitar, Matt Chamberlain on drums and percussion and producers Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine. Together they shape compositions from improvisation in a fertile collaboration they've nurtured and maintained over the years utilizing a distinctive methodology of inspiration Bill and Matt laying down musical themes-- and assemblage ”Lee and Tucker (with various accompaniment) augmenting the compositions into a fantastic groove.  With the additional contributions of Ron Miles, Eyvind Kang, bassists Mike Elizondo & Viktor Krauss and multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, Floratone has developed their signature sound into an unmistakable sonic brew.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Musicians:

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 Eric Clapton, 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, Joe Cocker, Ray La Montagne, Bon Iver & on Daft Punk’s Grammy Award Album of the Year (2014), Random Access Memories. 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, Disfarmer and All We Are Saying . Greg also performs with Bill in both duo and larger group formats. In 2010, Greg received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Americana Music Association for Instrumentalist.

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'sa 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 the 2012 release: 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 Scheinman, 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.

Jenny Scheinman is a singer, violin player, composer and arranger. She grew up on a homestead in Northern California in a family of folk musicians, studied at Oberlin Conservatory, graduated with a degree in English literature from UC Berkeley, and has been performing since she was a teenager. She has taken the #1 Rising Star Violinist title in the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and has been listed as one of their Top Ten Overall Violinists for a decade. She has garnered numerous high-profile arranging credits with Lucinda Williams, Bono, Lou Reed, Metallica and Sean Lennon, and has toured and recorded with Bill Frisell, Bruce Cockburn, Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Nels Cline, Vinicius Cantuaria, Rodney Crowell, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Mark Ribot. She has seven CDs of original music to date; Mischief & Mayhem, Jenny Scheinman, Crossing The Field, 12 Songs, Shalagaster, The Rabbi's Lover and Live At Yoshi's. www.jennyscheinman.com

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.

Brooklyn resident Tony Scherr (left) can usually be found singing and playing slide guitar with his band; Tony Scherr Trio (with Anton Fier & Rob Jost), or playing bass with Bill Frisell, or the band Sex Mob. He has also played guitar and/or bass with many other artists including The Lounge Lizards, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Rickie Lee  Jones, Dakota Staton, Feist, and many more. 
 
Tony can be heard on recently released records such as Bill Frisell's album of John Lennon music called "All We Are Saying", Aaron Neville's doo wop album "My True Story" with Keith Richards and Don Was, Iron and Wine's latest; "Ghost On Ghost", Sex Mob's "Cinema Circus & Spaghetti",  and "Tony Scherr Trio" recorded live at the band's perpetual Monday night series while at The Living Room in New York.

Kenny Wollesen (right) is a drummer, vibraphonist, percussionist and instrument builder based in New York City. He is the founder of the Wollesonic Laboratories (http://www.wollesonic.com) and the mastermind behind Sonic Massages and the Himalayas marching band. He has worked with John Zorn, Norah Jones, Tom Waits, Sean Lennon, Ben Goldberg, Steve Bernstein, Jonas Mekas, Butch Morris, Ilhan Ersahin, Hal Wilner, Eivind Opsvik, John Medeski, JIm Hall and has been a vital member of  Bill Frisell's ensembles and projects for over 15 years. Recently his instruments were featured in Teller’s (of the legendary magician duo, Penn & Teller) production of the The Tempest presented at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas & the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA.

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.