Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell brings trio to Napa – Times-Herald

When jazz guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell found himself unable to tour or perform live in conventional venues due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in early 2020, he faced to similar challenges to millions of other musicians around the world – being on the road almost constantly had been a huge part of his regular existence.

“My whole life really, as far back as I can remember, was about being with people and music is how I’ve been able to be with people,” said Frisell, who plays Blue Note in Napa. this week-end. .

“It was quite traumatic, but I don’t want to complain, I was one of the lucky ones, you know. I had a place to live. It definitely could have been a lot worse.

Instead of just shutting it down or hibernating and waiting for the world to reopen again, however, the Grammy-winning musician and songwriter took the opportunity to double down on his game.

“I realized how much I loved the guitar as much as ever, and music in general. It was a time when I could just practice and sit by myself and just play and get lost in it. “Music always has a way of saving me or getting me through what was going on.”

That perspective was something that would help him when his longtime friend and collaborator Hal Willner died of COVID about a month into the pandemic.

“I was on tour and then this thing started happening, I came home and about a month later it was gone,” Frisell said. “The thing got very real, very fast.

“He’s been part of so many things I’ve done, musically, over the past 40 years. The projects with him are too many to list, you know, he had amazing ideas and things that would come true, dreams that came true because of him.

In an effort to help lift their own spirits, as well as those of their friends, families, and neighbors in Brooklyn, Frisell and some of his bandmates decided to set up their instruments on their front steps and perform impromptu concerts.

One of the songs Frisell played on those home shows was a sweet rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s classic “What The World Needs Now,” which ended up on his 2020 album “Valentine.”

Now finally back on the road to support his latest outing, Frisell said he can’t wait to perform in the Bay Area again.

“When I started having my own gigs, it seemed like the Bay Area was one of those ‘Oasis’ places where people were open to my music, it was just super supportive.”

Frisell is also excited that he’ll be at the Blue Note for two straight days and won’t be pressured to quickly dismantle equipment and hit the freeway as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next one. city ​​and the next concert on time.

“It does an amazing thing to music, you play the first night and you rest for a bit and then play again, it’s become a luxury. It’s just fun,” Frisell said. “It’s so important, you you just move through space, you don’t have to set up stuff anymore, it’s like you can just deepen the music.

If you are going to:

When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 to $75

Where: Blue Note Napa, 1030 Main St., Napa.

For more information: bluenotenapa.com.

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