FTC welcomes Grammy Award winning jazz guitar virtuoso

Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell

Fairfield Theatre Company welcomes the Grammy Award winning guitar virtuoso Bill Frisell to StageOne solo on Tuesday, June 23, at 7:30.

With a career that has spanned over two decades and consists of more than 200 recordings; guitarist, composer, and bandleader Bill Frisell has established himself as an ardent presence in American music. Having collaborated with a vast range of artists, filmmakers, and legendary musicians Frisell’s work as a musician continues to garner increasing attention and accolades.

Born in Baltimore, and raised in Denver, Frisell first found his musical chops after he began playing the clarinet in elementary school. It wasn’t long until the young Frisell took up guitar for his personal amusement. Though Frisell continued with the clarinet, playing in school concerts and marching bands to even considered playing classical clarinet professionally, Frisell still found himself intrigued by the guitar.

It was during his high school days that Frisell began playing with local classmates  Philip Bailey, Andrew Woolfolk, and Larry Dunn (future members of the funk group Earth, Wind & Fire). It was these early adventures in rock and R&B that a really accelerated Frisell in music and the guitar. Soon Frisell discovered the music of Wes Montgomery and other jazz artists alike and opened the door to a young mind.

After briefly attending the University of Northern Colorado, Frisell moved to Boston in the early 70’s and attended the Berklee School of Music where he studied jazz with Michael Gibbs, John Damian and connected with other like-minded players including fellow classmate Pat Metheny.

During the mid-’70s, Frisell began moving away from pure bebop and began fusing jazz with his other musical interests and developed his atmospheric quasi-microtonal style that uses a guitar with a flexible neck to manipulate the instrument’s intonation.  With a combination of experimental techniques and signal processors of delay and reverb gave Frisell an exceptional sound that became unlike anything anyone had ever heard before.

Having performed with a variety of artists, including rock and pop musicians – drummer Ginger Baker, singers Marianne Faithfull, Elvis Costello, and the experimental jazz musicians saxophonist/composers John Zorn and Tim Berne; it’s not hard to see why Bill Frisell is considered one of the best in the business or why the New York Times declared him and his music as “A more fruitful meditation on American music…Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues.” Frisell has “found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play. Unlike other pastichists, who tend to duck passion, Mr. Frisell plays up the pleasure in the music and also takes on another often-avoided subject, tenderness.”

Now Frisell brings this experimental jazz form to StageOne in support of his latest release, Guitar in the Space Age, a delightful celebration of t musical era of the 50’s that includes classic surf rock licks with that of guitar lead ballots that still resonate in the ears of those who lived during this golden age and those who wish they had. Guitar in the Space Age is as good as an introduction to one of music’s most influential eras as well as a great introduction to Frisells signature sounds discography,  with it’s essential musical strands of surf, blues, country, swing and rock.

For tickets, at $42 in advance with a $5 member discount, visit fairfieldtheatre.org or call 203-259-1036.

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