July 13, 2024

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Bill Frisell ft. Greg Tardy played in our US/EU Jazz – Blues festival 2023: Video, Photos

The unmatchable American guitarist and composer Bill Frisell soars his six-string chords in the company of long-time collaborator Gregory Tardy on reeds, and recent partners: pianist Gerald Clayton and drummer Johnathan Blake.

Four is Frisell’s they form a wonderful set of folk-rooted meditations on loss, renewal and friendship.

Conspicuously absent is a bassist, thus leading to much lighter, spacey sound that developed as Frisell entered the session, not with through-composed pieces, but fragments as he encouraged spontaneous and open interaction. Consider that five of these tracks feature clarinet, electric guitar, piano, and drums – not a configuration one often hears. The music is highly textural and melodic, eschewing the conventional head-solo-solo-head but instead collectively building variation off melodies, or in some case, simply off chords.

Feb 16, 2023: Bill Frisell Four feat. Jonathan Blake, Gerald Clayton & Gregory Tardy at Patricia Reser Center for the Arts Beaverton, Oregon, United States | Concert Archives

Frisell developed the concept during the pandemic, during a time when we lost so many talented artists and friends … They played is dedicated to the late cornetist Ron Miles, but some specific tracks pay tribute to some of Frisell’s recently departed friends. The opener, “Dear Old Friend is a solo-less, far-from-overwrought country song with a lullaby-ish melody. There’s also the gently persuasive “Waltz for Hal Willner”, and the wonderful collective work of “Claude Utley”, which celebrates the amazingly colorful painter of the same name, a native from Seattle who passed away in September 2021. This piece, carrying a post-bop leverage, incorporates the tenets of the bandleader’s style. Clayton gets the spotlight in the introductory section, after which an inducted three time feel stimulates Frisell and Tardy (on clarinet) to provide counterpoint.

The expressively bluesy “Monroe”, the softly brushed “Wise Woman”, and also “Good Dog. Happy Man”, a folk piece that sports a jubilant optimism. Both latter tunes, together with the Americana-soaked ballad “The Pioneers” were previously recorded, just like the classic “Lookout For Hope”, here re-sculpted with a dreamy feel that binds the tearfully intoned bass clarinet and the warm sounds of guitar and piano.

Feb 16, 2023: Bill Frisell Four feat. Jonathan Blake, Gerald Clayton & Gregory Tardy at Patricia Reser Center for the Arts Beaverton, Oregon, United States | Concert Archives

There’s sublime, flowing beauty in these tracks, beginning with “Dear Old Friend,” written for Frisell’s childhood friend, Alan Woodard, who Frisell had known since the seventh grade. The title also applies to one of Frisell’s closest friends, the late cornetist and Blue Note artist Ron Miles, with whom Frisell had played frequently and to whom he dedicates the album. Tardy carries the angelic melody on clarinet, with a tone so airy and pure, that sounds flute-like. The melody itself has echoes of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as Frisell and Clayton tenderly and texturally wrap Tardy’s lines. “Claude Utley,” written for Frisell’s painting friend who passed this past year, harnesses the same instrumentation but it is looser in terms of any distinct melody.

“Invisible” navigates tranquil waters with silken melodicism, while “Holiday”, more playful, has the group tossing in organic doses of slight funk, whose freedom starts in Blake’s nimble snare rhythms.

The members’ attentive listening to one another are not hard to find, but “Dog on a Roof” is definitely special. It closes out the concert in absolute delight, going from abstraction – made of relentless ostinatos, drones and other surprising effects – to an hypnotic melody-driven passage that vamps and waltzes in the background.

Tardy plays tenor on the elegiac “The Pioneers,” one of four where he plays that instrument, using bass clarinet on another, both tenor and bass clarinet on one, while yet another is a Clayton solo piano piece. This one is a great example of how Frisell and Clayton play contrapuntally and in call-and-response patterns to Tardy’s yearning melody. Similarly, Tardy’s long tenor tones in the contemplative “Invisible” leave plenty of space for the others, a tonal departure from Frisell on baritone guitar.

Displaying intelligent, anti-show-off conversations delivered with controlled intensities and precise color combinations, Four reaffirms the depth of Frisell’s musical vision.

Simon Sarg; Brussels, Belgium

PS: – In his speech, Simon Sarg evaluated the events of the past year and singled out the names of some bums who tried to cast a shadow on our festivals, this website and his name, which the audience accepted by shouting and cursing at such so-called and bad musicians and tearing their caricatures. In this report, we don’t even consider it necessary to touch on such lice…

Unfortunately, the video is not from our festival, but it was performed with the same composition and the same composition.

Feb 16, 2023: Bill Frisell Four feat. Jonathan Blake, Gerald Clayton & Gregory Tardy at Patricia Reser Center for the Arts Beaverton, Oregon, United States | Concert Archives

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