Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan

Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 35 years and
many celebrated recordings, whose catalog has been cited by Downbeat as “the best
recorded output of the decade,” including his recent albums for Savoy - Sign of Life with
the 858 Quartet, Beautiful Dreamers, All We Are Saying, a collection of John Lennon
interpretations and his debut release for OKeh/Sony Masterworks, Big Sur, featuring
music commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival and composed at the Glen Deven
Ranch in Big Sur, for strings, guitar and drums in a quintet comprised of long-time
musical associates.
Frisell’s latest album for Okeh/Sony When You Wish Upon a Star, a project that
germinated at Lincoln Center during Bill’s two-year appointment as guest curator for the
Roots of Americana series (September ’13 – May ’15). It features Frisell with vocalist
Petra Haden, Eyvind Kang (viola), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums)
performing Frisell’s arrangements and interpretations of Music from Film and
Television. Jazz Times described the project as follows: “unforgettable themes are the
real draw here, reconfigured with ingenuity, wit and affection by Frisell and a terrific
group.” The touring version of the band includes Haden, Morgan and Royston.
Always on the lookout for opportunities to "dig around for where I'm coming from,"
Frisell’s recent project, the Grammy nominated GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE!, is an
homage to the inspirational popular music of his formative years made in the wake of
“the birth of the Fender Telecaster guitar” - (1951, the same year as Frisell’s own birth) -
that, he recalls, "got me super fired-up" about his instrument of choice. Frisell and his
band mates explore material on the Okeh/Sony Masterworks release associated with
The Beach Boys, Junior Wells, Pete Seeger, The Byrds, Duane Eddy, The Ventures, The
Kinks, Chet Atkins, Link Wray, Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant, The Astronauts, Merle
Travis, Johnny Smith and others, as well as original material by Frisell.
“Frisell has had a lot of practice putting high concept into a humble package. Long hailed
as one of the most distinctive and original improvising guitarists of our time, he has also
earned a reputation for teasing out thematic connections with his music... He has drawn
recent, long-form inspiration from the rural portrait photography of Mike Disfarmer and
the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927… There’s a reason that Jazz at Lincoln Center had
him program a series called Roots of Americana for its coming season.” Nate Chinen -
New York Times
Frisell’s Nonesuch output spans a wide range of musical expression, from original Buster
Keaton film scores, to arrangements for extended ensembles with horns and strings
(Blues Dream, History, Mystery, Unspeakable); collaborations with bassist Viktor Krauss
and drummer Jim Keltner (Gone, Just Like a Train, Good Dog, Happy Man); an album
with Nashville musicians (Nashville), a solo album (Ghost Town)), a collection of
traditional American folk songs and originals inspired by them (The Willies), and two trio
albums with jazz legends - Dave Holland/Elvin Jones and Ron Carter/Paul Motian. The
Intercontinentals blends Frisell’s brand of American roots music with Brazilian, Greek,
and Malian influences. Disfarmer was inspired by the work of the mid-century rural
Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer.
Recognized as one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell
was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in 2012. He is also a recipient of grants from
United States Artists, and Meet the Composer, among others. Upon San Francisco Jazz
opening their doors, he served as one of their Resident Artistic Directors.

Thomas Morgan

He’s been a steady presence in New York’s bustling jazz scene for nearly two decades, sports a discography dozens of discs deep, and has worked with numerous jazz heavyweights, from Lee Konitz to Paul Motian—but perhaps his work with guitarist Bill Frisell has brought Thomas Morgan the most attention. The two have played and recorded together on several well-received projects over the years, including Motian’s highly acclaimed final recording, 2011’s The Windmills of Your Mind, and Frisell’s Grammy-nominated When You Wish Upon a Star last year. The pair recently teamed up again to co-bill the just-released Small Town, an album of stunning guitar–bass duets recorded live at the Village Vanguard. Frisell describes Morgan’s stellar bass accompaniment best: “Thomas has this way of time-traveling, as if he sees ahead of the music and sorts it all out before he plays a note. He never plays anything that isn’t a response to what I play, anticipating me in the moment.”

A native of Hayward, California, Morgan began studying cello at age seven and later played bass guitar in his junior-high jazz band. When he switched to upright at 14, he discovered his bass journey-to-be, and eventually relocated to New York. There, he studied with Harvey Swartz while earning a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and he even landed a lesson with Ray Brown. He’s been busy working ever since, but for all that Morgan has done since landing in the Big Apple, the 35-year-old is just getting started.



Sold Out

Who’s Going

Upcoming Events
Sweetwater Music Hall