DESCRIPTION: An evening long suite - 75 minutes of original music to be composed and performed by Bill Frisell with accompanying film and staging by Bill Morrison, based on the Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and the ensuing transformation of American society and music. Frisell's wide-ranging musical palette will use elements of the vocabulary in American roots music, but as always, it will be refracted through his own inimitable lens and filters to yield a highly personal and illuminating musical vision, with the overall objective of contributing to a journey of discovery for the audience.

BACKGROUND: The Mississippi River Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in American history. In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its banks in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles to a depth of up to 30 feet.

Part of it's enduring legacy was the mass exodus of displaced sharecroppers. Musically, the "Great Migration" of rural southern blacks to Northern cities saw the Delta Blues electrified and reinterpreted as the Chicago Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll.

CONCEPT: An evening long suite of music composed by Mr. Frisell and performed by his Quartet with Tony Scherr on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums and Ron Miles on trumpet.

Staging will include a full length film produced by Morrison for the duration of the concert. Film can be presented either on one or two screens, depending on venue specs.


Guitarist and composer Bill Frisell is widely hailed as a national treasure, and is uniquely qualified to create a suite of music drawing on the disparate origins of blues, folk and jazz, transforming them into mid-century rhythm based guitar music, and culminating in the progressive interpretations and experimentation of the form.

"It's hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he's found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play. Unlike other pastichists, who tend to duck passion, Mr. Frisell plays up the pleasure in the music and also takes on another often-avoided subject, tenderness." - The New York Times

The project will mark the third collaboration between Frisell and filmmaker Bill Morrison, who has worked with some of the most important compsers of our time including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Henryk Gorecki, David Lang, Harry Partch, Steve Reich and Julia Wolfe. His work with Ridge Theater has been recognized with two Bessie awards and an Obie Award. "Decasia", his feature length collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, is described by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice as "the most widely acclaimed American avant-garde film of the fin-de-si├Ęcle."

Although Tony Scherr is perhaps best known for his work as a bassist in a number of Bill Frisell's bands, Steven Bernstein's Sexmob and with Willie Nelson, he is also a prolific guitarist and songwriter in his own right as well as a Grammy nominated producer. In addition to having two recordings of his own, Twist in the Wind and Come Around, he is one of the busiest sidemen in New York City with recording credits on albums by Broken Social Scene's Jason Collett, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson, Joey Baron, John Scofield, Maria Schneider, John Lurie, the Lounge Lizards and many others.

Kenny Wollesen has performed regularly with Bill Frisell for many years as a member of a number of his bands. He has played with John Zorn, Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Tom Waits, John Scofield, Jesse Harris, Sean Lennon, Mitchell Froom, Big John Patton, John Lurie, Jim Hall, Jessica Williams and Myra Melford. He leads his own band, The Wollesens and also currently tours with trumpeter Steven Bernstein's group Sex Mob, and occasionally with Zorn's Electric Masada.

A Denver, Colorado native, cornetist Ron Miles has played with Bill Frisell in a number of recording and live situations including the Unspeakable Orchestra, the celebrated quartet of the mid-nineties, groups that perform in Frisell's collaborative multi-media pieces with artist Jim Woodring, Mysterio Sympatico and Probability Cloud, the Blues Dream septet and with the ensemble that interpreted Frisell's arrangements of songs by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach.