The latest Nonesuch release by celebrated guitarist, composer and bandleader Bill Frisell marks the recording debut of The Intercontinentals
, a band he formed in 2001 which made its performance debut at Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival that fall. The recording, produced by Lee Townsend, features both the original band members, which include the Brazilian composer, singer, guitarist and percussionist Vinicius Cantuária
; Greek-Macedonian musician Christos Govetas on oud, bouzouki and vocals; and Mali’s Sidiki Camara on percussion and vocals, as well as subsequently added musicians Greg Leisz on pedal steel and various slide guitars and violinist Jenny Scheinman.
Blending Frisell’s own brand of American roots music and his inimitable improvisational style with the influences of Brazilian, Greek and Malian sounds has enabled him to expand upon his compositional technique in unique ways. The resulting sound has been described by Downbeat as possessing “fine webs of guitar interlacings, swaying momentum, dense textures and rhythmic urgency.” The album’s 14 tracks also include compositions by Cantuária, Govetas, Malian guitarist Boubacar Traore and Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil.
Frisell, in talking about this collaboration, has said, “With this group I’ve been finding all kinds of new musical connections. It’s been a challenge and an inspiration.”
In addition to Frisell’s ongoing performance and collaborative recording activities, he was recently honored at London’s Barbican Theatre with “An Evening with Bill Frisell”, where he performed with The Intercontinentals, the newly created Bill Frisell Sextet featuring Leisz, Ron Miles, Scheinman, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wolleson, plus special guests Djelimady Tounkara, the celebrated guitarist from Mali, and Eliza Carthy, the young singer and violinist from the UK. Frisell was also recently commissioned to write and record a musical response to the paintings of Gerhard Richter, to accompany a book and exhibit celebrating Richter’s acclaimed 858 series. The resulting CD-length piece includes performances by Frisell with Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola) and Hank Roberts (cello). Frisell has also accepted an invitation from Gerard Mortier to be Artistic Director of the “Century of Song” series as part of the Ruhr Trienniale Arts Festival in Germany for the 2003/2004 season.