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Bill Frisell

  • American musician
  • Born March 18, 1951

William Richard Frisell (born March 18, 1951) is an American guitarist, composer and arranger. One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late 1980s, Frisell came to prominence as a stalwart for ECM Records. He went on to work in a variety of contexts, notably as a member of the New York City Downtown Scene where he formed a long partnership with John Zorn. He was also a longtime member of Paul Motian's groups from the early 1980s until Motian's death in 2011. Since 2000, Frisell's eclectic output as a bandleader has emphasized folk, country music, and Americana.


First I was a European-style player, then I was a downtown 'noise guy,' and now some people call me an Americana guy.




I spend a lot of time copying saxophone players and trumpet players. Not to say that it is not important to listen to guitar players, but there's so much music out there and so many possibilities. I like anyone who plays any instrument.




In so many ways, it feels the same now when I play as the very first time I picked up the instrument. There's always this sound out there that's just a little bit beyond my reach and I'm trying to get there and that just sort of keeps me going.




I hate labels; the problem is that if you say you're one thing, it's hard for people to imagine you as something else. Music is way more complicated than that.



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