Bill Frisell debuted at Umbria Jazz Winter in 1994, twenty-seven years ago. A masterpiece. The second edition of the newborn winter Festival went down in history for the concert featuring guitarists Frisell and Jim Hall. That duo is among the magic moments in 50 years of Umbria Jazz. Frisell is undoubtedly one of the most influential guitarists of the post-Hall generation, the model that inspired the evolution of guitar for a long time. Frisell took over the baton of that inspiration in a very personal and original way, getting rid of any genre limits and opening up to an extraordinary and unique eclectism.
Frisell has created countless artistic paths over his forty years of career. He has always been faithful to himself, to his unique language, to his instantly recognizable “sound”, to his talent as an improviser that has few equals, not only among guitarists. He is an artist able to move from music for Buster Keaton’s silent movies to songs by John Lennon, Burt Bacharach, and Elvis Costello, from avant jazz to contemporary chamber music, from Latin music with Vinicius Cantuaria to mainstream jazz with Fred Hersch, Lee Konitz, or Elvin Jones, from the partnership with a radical innovator like John Zorn to the bands of an old guru like Charles Lloyd. Frisell has played the metropolitan music of the great contemporary cities and the one of America’s rural heart, the dance music of the teenagers of the ‘50s, and the one of Nashville. He has always been at his ease: the ECM’s algid atmospheres and the Nonesuch’s sophisticated ones, Marianne Faithfull’s acidic voice and the epic three-voice polyphonies with Zorn and George Lewis, impromptu meetings and solid partnerships such as Naked City or the highly-lamented trio featuring Paul Motian and Joe Lovano. He has composed music for elaborated ensembles and performed in minimal formulas such as trios, duos (with bassist Thomas Morgan), or solo guitar performances, as in this edition of Umbria Jazz Winter.