In discussions about the world’s greatest guitarists, one name often unconscionably overlooked is that of avant Jazz six-stringer Bill Frisell. For the past three and a half decades, Frisell has created textural environments that are visceral and pastoral, actively engaging and passively contemplative, utilizing guitar skills that border on genius. With a touch that can produce dazzling fury or zen quietude, Frisell has more than 40 solo recordings to his credit and has featured on more than 250 other recordings, including collaborations with some of the biggest names in Jazz and Rock. Intuitively mixing the most relatable elements of Jazz, Blues, Rock and Country, Frisell has transcended mere genre blending to create a new style of music that is unmistakably his own.
Frisell’s latest album is Floratone II, his improvisational collaboration with drummer Matt Chamberlain and producers Tucker Martine and Lee Townsend, but don’t expect to hear “the new stuff” when he plays live; Frisell has never adhered to the standard write-record-release-road methodology.
The guitarist — joined by 858 Quartet members Jenny Scheinman, Eyvind Kang and Hank Roberts — is bannering this show as "Musical Portraits from Heber Springs," a world premiere piece inspired by the work of photographer Mike Disfarmer (who photographed rural residents in his native Arkansas until his death in 1959), a multimedia extension of Frisell’s similarly catalyzed 2009 album, Disfarmer.
The show is an adjunct presentation to the Fotofocus exhibition event (fotofocus.org); although Disfarmer’s work is not included in FotoFocus, a private viewing for $250 will take place Oct. 10 at Japp’s Annex. Call 513-823-2122 or visit emerytheatre.com/events for details.
BILL FRISELL AND THE 858 QUARTER performs Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the Emery Theatre.