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5.29.11
This is an Archival Site
There is now a new Rogovoy Report home



5.18.11
Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller



5.18.11
Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever



5.17.11
FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.17.11
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5.12.11
Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21



5.15.11
Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm



5.12.11
Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF



5.11.11
Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend



6.4.09
Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....



5.8.11
Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak



5.8.11
twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy





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[MUSIC REVIEW] Bill Frisell, Mahaiwe Theatre, 11.11.06
Listen to Seth's audio review of Bill Frisell as broadcast on WAMC Northeast Public Radio:
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11.12.06
MAHAIWE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Bill Frisell's Unspeakable Orchestra
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006

review by Seth Rogovoy, critic-at-large, BERKSHIRE LIVING Magazine

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., November 12, 2006) -- There are very few musicians and composers who can lay claim to having invented their own genre of music. But as guitarist and bandleader Bill Frisell demonstrated on Saturday night at the Mahaiwe with his eight-piece Unspeakable Orchestra, in a two-hour concert that utterly defied musical categorization, Frisellania is a term that should be reserved for a unique form and style of music that springs forth from the unique genius of this avant-garde jazz icon.

In a career spanning over a quarter of a century and over 200 recordings, including 25 albums of his own, Frisell has done just about everything, including writing soundtracks for Gary Larson cartoons, playing country music and free jazz, exploring music of other cultures, and playing with jazz legends including Dave Holland and Elvin Jones. Though hardly a household name, Frisell has even won a Grammy Award, which he garnered for the CD he recorded in 2004 with the ensemble he performed with at the Mahaiwe on Saturday night.

And itís no surprise why. While this was music of inordinate sophistication, it was also music of sheer beauty and remarkable accessibility. Something of a minimalist, Frisell is a master of taking just a few melodic notes and phrases, and with the help of his band, refracting them through a prism of rhythmic and tonal variation, so that, for example, his first piece, a wistful, poignant waltz, metamorphosed through free improvisation to New Orleans-style marching band music to funk to a climax of Beatlesque hard rock.

Frisellís Unspeakable Orchestra featured Kenny Wollesen on drums, Tony Scherr on bass, Hank Roberts on cello, Eyvind Kang on viola, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Ron Miles on cornet, and Greg Tardy on tenor saxophone. One of the eveningís highlights was a piece that seemed to imagine what Miles Davisís Kind of Blue album would have sounded like were it to have been performed by a Central European string quartet. One could practically see Miles smiling on the proceedings from beyond the grave.

As a guitarist, Frisell is sui generis Ė a genre to himself. The entire night he nary played a conventional jazz chord or blues lick or bebop run; rather, he played sustained, piano-like phrases that emphasized ringing, bell-like chimes and tones that then were elaborated upon by his ensemble.

Frisell made the most of the textural and tonal potential of this unique lineup of instruments, finding counterparts for his unique guitar playing in the strings and the horn section. It helped that these players, like Frisell, all specialize in finding unique tonalities in their instruments, in sum making for a strikingly unique, haunting night of music Ė one with no clear antecedent or center of gravity other than the fertile musical vocabulary and imagination of mastermind Bill Frisell.





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