Sunday, April 15, 2018
Concert Review: Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston at the 1900 Building
Trouble with a bass amplifier interrupted an otherwise flawless performance by Bill Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston at the 1900 Building on Sunday, April 8. Frisell, one of the most consequential guitarists in jazz history, was sanguine about the pause 30 minutes into his trio’s 90-minute outing.
“That was like a blessing in disguise,” he said. “It gave us all a chance to process all the heady shit we played.”
He was right. A rapt audience of about 150 had already experienced a dizzying opening salvo highlighted by a deconstruction of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and a masterful demonstration of looping effects.
With the technical difficulties resolved, the trio dazzled on selections including a gonzo reading of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy,” a straightforward take on the James Bond theme “Goldfinger” and a tender interpretation of Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” The outing was the most engaging of Frisell’s several area appearances in recent years.
Frisell’s eyes appeared to water as he acknowledged the presence of Jerry Hahn. He said that while it’s common knowledge that Jim Hall and Jimi Hendrix are among his primary influences, he “stole really a lot from” the seminal guitarist with the same initials. Even members of the audience who weren’t familiar with Hahn gratefully applauded him for the role he played in inspiring Frisell’s magnificent talent.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)