Bill Frisell: full interview
The American guitarist on playing a prison, life-saving music, John Zorn and more
I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Bill Frisell for this piece in the Globe and Mail, which came out yesterday. It’s paywalled. But so is this piece! Jazz is expensive.
If you’re looking for listings for this weekend, refer to the last newsletter.
In this conversation, Frisell talks about playing a prison in Kingston, how instrumental music can be political, his long-standing relationship with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen, his work with John Zorn, his respect for Daniel Lanois and Joni Mitchell, the recent doorstopper of a biography, and more.
The Bill Frisell Trio play Ottawa (tix still available) on Friday; the Toronto and Wolfe Island shows are sold out. You’re not invited to the prison gig.
Feb 27, 2023
How often do you come to Canada? When was the last time you played here?
I was in Ottawa last summer with Charles Lloyd. When I lived in Seattle, I’d play Vancouver often. The Montreal Jazz Festival I’ve played a number of times.
I guess I was thinking about Toronto.
I did a couple of amazing gigs there, as part of this Daniel Lanois tribute at Massey Hall, and also this Joni Mitchell thing. [Both were at the Luminato Festival.] That was incredible. A tribute to Joni Mitchell. She came. This was maybe 10 years ago.
Yes, before she appeared recently with Brandi Carlisle, that Massey Hall show was the first time she’d appeared on stage in many years.
That was astounding. I was so grateful to have been there for that.
What did you play at it, do you remember?
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