The UW School of Music and Earshot Jazz present renowned guitarist Bill Frisell in an evening of duo and trio performances with trumpeter Cuong Vu and pianist Robin Holcomb in this Earshot Jazz Festival event celebrating Frisell’s appointment as affiliate professor of music in the UW Jazz Studies program.
Note: This show is sold out! A small number of tickets may be released to the waiting list ten minutes before showtime. Sign up for the waiting list at the Jones Playhouse box office starting at 6:30 p.m. day of show.
Bill Frisell, guitar
"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
Over the years, Frisell has contributed to the work of such collaborators as Paul Motian, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, Ginger Baker, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Suzanne Vega, Loudon Wainwright III, Van Dyke Parks, Vic Chesnutt, Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Vinicius Cantuaria, Marc Johnson (in "Bass Desires"), Ronald Shannon Jackson and Melvin Gibbs (in "Power Tools"), Marianne Faithful, John Scofield, Jan Garbarek, Lyle Mays, Vernon Reid, Julius Hemphill, Paul Bley, Wayne Horvitz, Hal Willner, Robin Holcomb, Rinde Eckert, The Frankfurt Ballet, film director Gus Van Sant, David Sanborn, David Sylvian, Petra Haden and numerous others, including Bono, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and Daniel Lanois on the soundtrack for Wim Wenders' film Million Dollar Hotel.
This work has established Frisell as one of the most sought-after guitar voices in contemporary music. The breadth of such performing and recording situations is a testament not only to his singular guitar conception, but his musical versatility as well. This, however, is old news by now. In recent years, it is Frisell's role as composer and band leader which has garnered him increasing notoriety.
Much has been made of the uncategorizable nature of Frisell's music and the seamlessness with which his bands have navigated such a variety of styles. "Frisell's pals just happen to be superb musical chameleons, up to every change of gears and genre the guitarist's catch-all music throws at them. The band even comfortably follows the leader onto Country and Western turf, as Frisell often approximates the whine of a lonely steel guitar." (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Bill's comments to the same publication: "When I was in Colorado, I never really played that country stuff or even liked it that much, though it was all over the radio. But as I got older, it crept into my music a lot." In fact, the Chicago Tribune observed that "Frisell possesses not only impressive compositional skills but also a remarkable ability to encompass seemingly antagonistic musical genres." Commenting on his eclectic compositional inclinations, Frisell told Down Beat: "When I write something, it just sort of comes out. I'm not thinking, 'Now I'm going to write a cowboy song'. It just happens, then I usually think about what must have influenced it later. When I sit down to write something in a certain style, it doesn't work. I don't know if that's important or something I need to do, or if it doesn't matter. I don't care; I'm just thankful something comes out sometimes."
This musical kinship with Miles Davis has been cited repeatedly in the music press. The New Yorker notes: "Bill Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis played the trumpet: in the hands of such radical thinkers, their instruments simply become different animals. And, like Davis, Frisell loves to have a lot of legroom when he improvises--the space that terrifies others quickens his blood."
Robin Holcomb, piano
Pianist, composer, singer and songwriter Robin Holcomb has performed extensively in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Living in the Lower East Side of New York in the 1980s, she was a founder of Studio Henry, a venue for maverick composers, and theNew York Composers Orchestra. Living in Seattle since 1989, she continues to compose and record songs and music for solo piano, chamber ensembles, dance, theatre and film.
Her most recent recording is John Brown’s Body (Tzadik), a collection of solo piano compositions, a string quartet and duets and trios with Eyvind Kang, Steve Moore and Dave Carter. Solos (Songlines) features solo piano music by Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz, performed by the composers. On the Nonesuch label, The Big Time (2002) is a collection of original songs and arrangements of songs from the Anthology of American Folk Music. Also on Nonesuch, Little Three (1996) is a solo recording of piano music and songs, preceded by Rockabye (1992) and Robin Holcomb (1990). Earlier recordings of instrumental music includeLarks, They Crazy and Todos Santos, both on the German Sound Aspects label. Other recording projects include appearances on Bill Frisell’s landmark Nashville recording and contributions to Burt Bacharach,Serge Gainsbourg and Mississippi Sheiks tribute compilations. Ms. Holcomb is frequently invited to perform in the multi-artist tribute concerts produced by Hal Willner and Janine Nichols, including Came So Far For Beauty: The Music of Leonard Cohen, Shock and Awe: The Music of Randy Newman, The Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited and The Doc Pomus Project.
Her work has been called "remarkable" (CMJ), "stunning" (Option), "entrancing" (Billboard) and "sensitive, descriptive, adventuresome and full of soul" (Washington Post). "Hers is an unsettling, utterly original vision." (Entertainment Weekly) According to The New York Times: "Ms. Holcomb has done something remarkable here: she has created a new American regionalism, spun from many threads - country, rock, minimalism, Civil War songs, Baptist hymns, Appalachian folk tunes, even the polytonal music of Charles Ives. The music that results is as elegantly simple as a Shaker Quilt, and no less beautiful."
Cuong Vu, trumpet
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing talents to a wide range of artists including Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Cibo Matto, and Mitchell Froom.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released five recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory on the trumpet while blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Cuong was awarded the Colbert Award for Excellence: The Downtown Arts Project Emerging Artist Award. As an assistant professor in jazz studies, he was recently awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award and is a Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellow. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 young Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time”.
Cuong is a "Yamaha Performing Artist", playing the Yamaha Custom YTR8310Z trumpet.