Bill Frisell, A Portrait

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“Bill Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis played the trumpet: in the hands of such radical thinkers, their instruments simply become different animals.”

The New Yorker

The Australian premiere screening on June 4 will be preceded by an introduction by Bill Frisell 

A character portrait of ‘musicians’ musician’ and anti-archetypal guitar hero, Bill Frisell. This film traces the development of Frisell’s music and provides rare insight into the shaping of one of the significant musicians of recent decades. Full of live music and following various projects from development to fruition, the film features a variety of collaborators, including Paul Motian, Jim Hall, Hal Willner, Joey Baron, Jason Moran, Nels Cline, Mike Gibbs, Jack DeJohnette, John Zorn, John Abercrombie, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Jim Woodring, Greg Cohen, Tony Scherr and others.

Bill Frisell is widely credited as being one of the biggest influences on guitarists and the changing palette of guitar in the last few decades. A unique and masterful musician, prolific composer and bandleader, Grammy Award winner and Downbeat Guitarist of the Year for ten consecutive years, Frisell is recipient of countless accolades from critics and fans from all genres of music and corners of the globe. In a career that has thus far spanned hundreds of albums, with 45 in his own name, Frisell has managed to combine sonic mastery with jazz, country, folk, rock, blues, pop, avant-garde, and more, whilst always maintaining a uniquely identifiable sound.

Australian director Emma Franz paints a layered portrait of Frisell’s musical personality, conceptual ideas, and processes to provide not only a deeper understanding of the man, but also a how-and-why of high-level music creation. This is revealed through disarming, direct cinema-style footage of Frisell as he collaborates with a number of other significant artists, including Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Joey Baron, Mike Gibbs, Jason Moran, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, artist Jim Woodring and others. Interwoven with these scenes and music performance is a type of musical investigation, as eminent artists including Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Jim Hall, Nels Cline, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter and John Zorn identify elements of his character, methods and technique that make Frisell’s playing unique.

Bill Frisell, A Portrait serves as an essential record of one of the most significant artists of the late 20th / early 21st century.

Presented in association with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival