MASTER GUITARIST BILL FRISELL TURNS CURATOR FOR ROOTS OF AMERICANA SERIES WITH SAM AMIDON, JASON MORAN AND ALICIA HALL MORAN
by BEN GREENMAN photography ATISHA PAULSON
In his three decades as a recording artist, Bill Frisell has ranged across American music, from jazz to country to pop to folk. He has collaborated with everyone from Vernon Reid to Elvis Costello, created film scores and covered artists as diverse as Neil Young, Hank Williams and Madonna. Now he’s taking on a new challenge, as the curator of Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Roots of Americana series. The first shows, opening this month, look at George Gershwin, Charles Ives, Stephen Foster and William Billings.
“THERE’S A BODY OF SONGS THAT WAS JUST SORT OF IN MY BLOODSTREAM. I DIDN’T REALLY EVEN KNOW WHERE THEY CAME FROM.”
A little more than a week before the Lincoln Center event, Frisell was in a San Francisco hotel, putting the finishing touches on the program. Soft-spoken and circumspect, he admits that the notion of an Americana theme initially gave him pause. “From my side, that idea left it very wide open. There’s a whole umbrella under that word, ‘Americana,’ a world of music, and I just wanted to make sure we captured some part of it.”
Being Here, a compilation of interviews with extraordinary New York City improvisational musicians on the values and practices that inform their music making. I ask them about composing, improvising and bandleading, andabout the relationship between art and the audience. The book is a resource on the creative process, and tells a story of jazz at this time and place. By Radhika Philip
Featured artists: Andy Bey, Ben Monder, Billy Hart, Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Butch Morris, Chris Potter, Dafnis Prieto, David Binney, Dave Douglas, Gregoire Maret, Henry Threadgill, Jane Ira Bloom, Jason Moran, Kenny Wollesen, Maria Schneider, Mark Turner, Robert Glasper, Steve Coleman, Thomas Morgan, Vijay Iyer, William