“It’s like when you’re dreaming and you’re on the edge of a cliff, and you know on a certain level that it’s a dream, so you can just jump off. With this music, we could do that. All three of us could take big chances, and we’d always be rescued.”
– Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell is the Edmund Hillary of musical exploration. Over the course of 40 years and as many albums, the acclaimed guitarist has hopped brilliantly across themes, moods and genres – pushing himself, his collaborators, and his audience to new and unexpected heights through his restless curiosity and creativity. Jazz, rock, country, folk, fusion, film music, classical – it’s all in his wheelhouse, a point that draws comparisons to another jazz legend. Says The New Yorker, “Bill Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis played the trumpet: in the hands of such radical thinkers, their instruments simply become different animals.” And, like Miles, Bill is one of music’s most significant improvisers – prizing melody, beauty and tenderness over virtuosic speed and showmanship. We featured him several years ago, and we’re thrilled to do it again. He’s that great, that unique.
On his new album “Valentine,” Bill again puts himself in adventurous territory: a trio setting. The barebones dynamic – melody, harmony, tempo – can be a trick to pull off, but after extensive touring with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston, Bill sought to capture their live chemistry on record. Eight original tunes and a handful of standards make up the collection, and Bill’s guitar work is as fresh and focused as ever, swinging from Monkish blues to Western twang, atmospheric jazz to sweet soul. And you won’t believe the tack-sharp interplay and improvisations of the ensemble. “Both of these guys, the first time I played with them, it felt like we’d been playing together our whole lives,” Bill says. “It almost feels like some sort of magic.” Sounds like it, too.