Live Review: Bill Frisell Trio @ Keystone Korner — 04/24/21

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Bill Frisell performs at Keystone Korner Baltimore on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock.)

Sometimes it’s simply the spontaneity of live music that makes it such a special experience, not only for the fans — some of whom might loosely feel the weight of what they’re witnessing — but just as much for the musicians themselves. With lingering rules and protocols in place, any in-the-flesh performance down the backstretch of the pandemic should be cherished for the solace and bliss it might provide everyone involved.

Bill Frisell, the legendary guitar player of otherworldly talents and an unthinkably accomplished recording artist and composer, recently announced a handful of shows on fairly short notice. But it really wasn’t by chance that several of those shows were in Baltimore this past Saturday and Sunday at Keystone Korner, a Harbor East venue powering through the weirdest of times to approach its second anniversary.

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Preview: Bill Frisell Trio @ Keystone Korner [Baltimore], 4/24-4/25/21

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Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)

Not too long before the pandemic struck, 2-star Michelin Chef Robert Wiedmaier and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Todd Barkan opened Keystone Korner in Baltimore, taking inspiration from the original venue of the same name in San Francisco.

Keystone Korner is getting back into the swing of things by hosting live music, and it has an extraordinary weekend planned with four shows by the Bill Frisell Trio over two days on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25.

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Interview: Bill Frisell (New Album: Valentine)

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Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)

Few musicians have demonstrated an eternal devotion to the exploration and discovery of sound like Bill Frisell. The 69-year-old made a name for himself as a studio guitarist for ECM Records in the 1980s and went on to become a tremendously influential presence on the New York City jazz scene working with John Zorn, Paul Motian, John Scofield, and many others on a long list of projects.

Guided by his life-long pursuit of melody, Bill left the City in 1988, intentionally breaking out of the walls of jazz he’d constructed around himself, and moved to the West Coast, but his desire to create new music would take him all over the globe.

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Song of the Day: “We Shall Overcome” by Bill Frisell

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Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)

Acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell has announced his newest project Valentine — the debut recording of his trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston — for release Aug. 14 on Blue Note Records.

Bill has also released the album’s closing track “We Shall Overcome,” the Civil Rights anthem that he holds dear as a message of hope in all dark times. “I’ve been playing the song for years, and I’m going to keep playing it till there is no need anymore,” he said. “I can’t help but hope that day will come.”

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