I could probably say that I never expected the chance to see Bill Frisell – at least not in New Zealand; so I was super excited to check him out when he appeared here as part of the Jazz Festival a couple of years back.
I’ve loved Frisell’s playing for the last quarter-century or more – he’s one of the greats to me. And one of the great examples of how you can be a shred-king without actually shredding; you can be one of the greatest guitarists in the world and be utterly ego-less (or at least present that way at the very least).
I wasn’t even remotely worried that some people there clearly expected fireworks, or didn’t know what to expect at all and most certainly hadn’t realised that he’s an in-the-moment player that doesn’t dig back to any ‘hits’ or moments from the past but was exploring the current ‘phase’ of his career (basically the album he’d just released). I was aware of it – it was hard not to spot and feel. But I wasn’t worried.
Instead I just sat there and loved every minute of it; felt thrilled and fortunate, so incredibly lucky. It’s happened a few times of course, more than I can count even – but I got to see one of the musicians that means the most to me – and he was (and is) still at the top of his game. His band was sublime as well.
I did my best to say all this and more.
Stubs is an occasional feature here at Off The Tracks – looking back through the ticket-stub box and remembering how the show went down.