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Bill Frisell is an American guitarist and composer. One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late '80s, Frisell's eclectic music touches on progressive folk, classical music, country music, noise[…]

Guitarist Bill Frisell constructs a playlist for someone who wants to dive into the genre.

Question: What recordings are essential to a crash course in rnjazz? 

Bill Frisell: Oh, there’s so many. That’s the rnthing. It’s incredible how much music there is, you know? If you just rnfollow one person, it’ll lead you to... like it’s all connected somehow.rn I was in high school and my band director gave me a Wes Montgomery rnalbum; he wanted me to learn this piece on the guitar for a talent show.rn And so he gave me this Wes Montgomery record and that was a beginning rnfor me of becoming aware of that music. And it was Wes Montgomery with rnRon Carter playing bass, right? Recently I’ve been blessed to be able torn play with him; I can’t believe I get to play with some of these rnpeople. 

But, so there’s this first record that I really listenedrn to that’s a jazz record and there’s Ron Carter’s playing bass. So then Irn go, "Well I’m gonna get another jazz record." So I get a Kenny Burrell rnrecord and there’s... Ron Carter’s playing bass on that one. And then I rnget a Miles Davis record and Ron Carter’s playing bass on that one. Thenrn Ron plays with Miles Davis and Miles Davis played with John Coltrane rnand then John Coltrane played with Duke Ellington, and Duke Ellington rnplayed with Louis Armstrong. I don’t know what to tell somebody. If you rnjust start... just listen to anything great. Listen to Thelonious Monk rnand Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington, any of those rnguys. It’s easy to find out who they are... they’ll all lead you off rninto all these unbelievable... it’s more than a tree, it’s like a forestrn of all the seeds coming down from this giant tree and it’s amazing.

Recorded on May 5, 2010
Interviewed by Victoria Brown