The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) presents jazz guitar master Bill Frisell, Friday and Saturday, May 23 & 24 at 8 p.m. at the Aladdin Theater. One of the most sought after guitar voices in contemporary music, Bill Frisell is noted for the structural virtuosity of his compositions and has been hailed as an “architect of music.” General admission tickets are $17 and may be purchased in advance by calling PICA at 242-1419 or through the Aladdin Theater box office. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the performance.

Over the past 10 years, Bill Frisell has been considered one of the most brilliant and unique voices in jazz and new music guitar. He has contributed to the work of such collaborators as Paul Motian, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Frankfurt Ballet, David Sanborn and numerous others. His distinctive shaping of melodies has earned him increased notoriety as a composer and band leader, and the breadth of his performing and recording career is a testament not only to his unique guitar conception, but to his musical versatility as well.

The Bill Frisell Quartet was formed in the spring of 1995, and includes Bill Frisell (guitar), Eyvind Kang (violin/tuba), Ron Miles (trumpet), and Curtis Fowlkes (trombone). Their first recording, Quartet, has received much critical acclaim and earned them international recognition. In its review, The New York Times, said Quartet “may be [Frisell's] masterpiece…a profound mix of the old and the new.”

For more information, please call PICA at 503/242-1419.


Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
The Bill Frisell Quartet
In Concert

Bill Frisell
Electric and acoustic guitar

Ron Miles

Eyvind Kang

Curtis Fowlkes



Bill Frisell has been described as an “architect of music” and is one of the most sought after guitar voices in contemporary music. With over 80 recordings to his credit, Frisell’s broad palette of collaborators includes Ginger Baker, Gavin Bryars, Don Bryon, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithful, Wayne Horvitz, Lyle Mays, Paul Motian, David Sanborn, Hal Wilner, and John Zorn, among many others.

Bill Frisell was born in Baltimore and played clarinet throughout his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His interest in guitar began with his exposure to pop music on the radio and he soon developed a passion for the Chicago Blues sounds of B.B. King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Paul Butterfield. He studied music at the University of Northern Colorado before attending Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied with John Damian, Herb Pomeroy and Michael Gibbs. In 1978, Frisell moved to Belgium for a year where he concentrated on musical composition. During this time, he also toured with Michael Gibbs and first recorded with German bassist Eberhard Weber. In 1979, Frisell settled in New York, where he remained for the next ten years before moving to Seattle, where he now resides.

A strain of Americana has always run through Frisell’s work, especially in his more recent recordings — Quartet, Music for the Films of Buster Keaton, Have a Little Faith, This Land, and his latest release, Nashville. With Have a Little Faith (1992), Frisell interpreted the works of a number of American composers whose music had inspired him, including Aaron Copland, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Sonny Rollins, Stephen Foster, Charles Ives, Victor Young, Madonna and John Philip Sousa. His next release, This Land (1993), clearly demonstrated the influences of the composers to whom he paid tribute on his previous recording.

In 1994, Frisell turned his attention to the silent films of Buster Keaton, creating scores for three of his shorts — The High Sign, One Week and Go West. The pairing of these two artists displayed a natural affinity between their work. Together, they possessed an undeniable sense of adventure and a penchant for the unexpected that enhanced the warmth and humanity of both the musical and cinematic elements of their work. Frisell’s musical score recounts the rises, falls and tragicomic mishaps of Keaton’s memorable screen personae, while his signature guitar voice presides over vignettes of fluctuating rhythms, tempos and moods, to create an atmosphere of placid tumult so intrinsic to Keaton’s life and work.

The Bill Frisell Quartet was formed in the Spring of 1995. The group features Frisell on electric and acoustic guitar, Ron Miles on trumpet, Eyvind Kang on violin and tuba, and Curtis Fowlkes on trombone. A departure from his work over the past ten years with longtime drummer Joey Baron and bassist Kermit Driscoll, Frisell describes the Quartet as “gigantic.” “This group, with violin and brass, can play an orchestral range of sounds….It’s given me a chance to write and arrange in an even bigger way.”

Eyvind Kang grew up in Canada and began playing the violin at the age of six. He began classical studies under Dr. Howard Leighton Brown and was composing by the age of seven. Taking up the electric bass as a teenager, he played in band of various styles. Eventually setting aside the violin altogether for a period of time, he pursued studies in electronic and electro-acoustic music at the University of Edmundton in Alberta. In 1992, Kang received a scholarship to attend Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. There he met and studied with violinist Michael White, who rekindled Kang’s interest in the violin. Kang is currently active as a performer and composer and is working on “NADES” — a 23-part recording and live performance project. His interest in dance has also led to collaborations with the New City Dance Theatre, Pat Graney Dance Company, and Stephanie Skura/Cranky Destroyers. Kang has recently collaborated with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Julian Priester, and The Sun City Girls. He will soon be releasing his first solo album on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.

Ron Miles began playing trumpet as a sixth grader in Denver. Influenced by the recordings of Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, Miles studied trumpet with Gordon Dooley and Bob Symmonds. He left Denver to attend the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Lester Bowie and performed with Art Farmer and Red Rodney. Influenced by the music of Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor and Leo Smith, he continued with his studies and received a Masters degree from the University of Colorado, where he became involved with the Creative Music Ensemble. It was here that he also met tenor saxophonist Fred Hess who was to become one of his most important influences. Miles has since had the opportunity to record and perform with Hess and other local players, including Paul Romaine and Keith Oxman. In addition to his work with The Bill Frisell Quartet, Miles has his own group and will soon have a recording on the Gramavision label. He lives in Denver, Colorado where he is an Assistant Professor of music at Metro State College of Denver.

Curtis Fowlkes was born in New York and began playing trombone while in high school with local Latin and R&B bands. He currently co-leads the Jazz Passengers and has been a member of the group since its inception in 1987. He has also toured and recorded over the past few years with such groups as The Lounge Lizards, Henry Threadgill’s Very, Very Circus and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. He also performed and appeared in
Robert Altman’s jazz-inspired film, “Kansas City.” Fowlkes lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bill Frisell Selected Discography

As leader

Quartet (Nonesuch)
Bill Frisell/Kermit Driscoll/Joey Baron Live (Gramavision)
Music for the Films of Buster Keaton – Go West (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Music for the Films of Buster Keaton – The High Sign and One Week (Elektra/Nonesuch)
This Land (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Have a Little Faith (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Where in the World? (Elktra/Nonesuch)
Is That You? (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Before We Were Born (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Lookout for Hope (ECM)
Rambler (ECM)
In Line (ECM)

As co-leader

Deep Dead Blue with Elvis Costello (Warner/Nonesuch)
Just So Happens with Gary Peacock (Postcards)
American Blood Safety in Numbers with Victor Godsey/Brian Ales (veraBra)
Strange Meeting with Power Tools (Antilles)
News For Lulu Again with John Zorn/George Lewis (HatART)
News for Lulu with Zorn/Lewis (HatART)
Smash & Scatteration with Vernon Reid (Minor Music/Ryko)
Theoretically with Tim Berne (Minor Music/Empire)

With Paul Motian

Trioism (JMT)
Motian in Tokyo (JMT)
Bill Evans (JMT)
Paul Motian on Broadway – Vols. 1, 2 & 3 (JMT)
Monk in Motion (JMT)
Misterioso (Soul Note)
One Time Out (Soul Note)
It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago (ECM)
Jack of Clubs (Soul Note)
The Story of Maryam (Soul Note)
Psalm (ECM)

With John Zorn

Naked City: Grand Guignol (DIW/Avant)
Filmworks (Elektra/Musician)
Naked City (Elektra/Musician)
Spillane (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Cobra (HatArt)
The Big Gundown (Elektra/Nonesuch)

With Robin Holcomb

Rockabye (Elektra/Musician)
Robin Holcolmb (Elektra/Musician)
Todos Santos (Sounds Aspects)

With Don Byron

Music for Six Musicians (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Tuskegee Experiments (Elektra/Nonesuch)

With Wayne Horvitz/The President

Miracle Mile (Elektra/Nonesuch)
The President (Dossier)

With Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires

Second Sight (ECM)
Bass Desires (ECM)

With Paul Bley

The Paul Bley Quartet (ECM)
Fragments (ECM)

With Jan Garbarek

Wayfarer (ECM)
Paths, Prints (ECM)

With Lyle Mays

Street Dreams (Geffen)
Lyle Mays (Geffen)

With Billy Hart

Rah (Gramavision)
Oshumare (Gramavision)

With Bob Moses

The Story of Moses (Gramavision)
Visit with the Great Spirit (Gramavision)
When Elephants Dream of Music (Gramavision)

With Eberhard Weber

Later that Evening (ECM)
Fluid Rustle (ECM)

With Others

Joe Lovano Wind Ensemble, Words (Evidence)
Ginger Baker, Going Back Home (Atlantic)
Jerry Granelli, A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing (Evidence)
John Scofield, Grace Under Pressure (Blue Note)
Rinde Eckert, Finding May Way Home (DIW)
David Sanborn, Another Hand (Elektra/Musician)
Ambitious Lovers, Greed (Virgin)
Arild Anderson, A Molde Concert (ECM)
Tim Berne, Fulton Street Maul (Columbia)
Gavin Bryars, After the Requiem (ECM)
Marianne Faithful, Strange Weather (Island)
Allen Ginsberg, The Lion for Real (Great Jones/Island)
Julius Hemphill, J.H. Big Band (Elektra/Musician)
Bobby Previte, Claude’s Late Morning (Gramavision)
Hank Roberts, Black Pastels (JMT)
Michael Shrieve, Fascination (CMP)
various, The Weird Nightmare, a tribute to Charles Mingus (CBS/Sony)
various, Amacord Nino Rota (Hannibal)
various, Stay Awake, interpretations of vintage Disney film music (A&M)

1996/97 Sponsors


BOORA Architects
Leslie Durst
The Heathman Hotel
Steven McGeady
Wieden & Kennedy


Florence V. Burden Foundation
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1996/97 Performance Series Media Sponsor

Willamette Week

In Memory of Howard Dewey

Ann & Norb Wellman
Dick & Nancy Mitchell

Calendar of upcoming events


The Garden Show
June 12 – July 12

PICA announces its 1997/98 Performance Series

Ann Carleson
Real People
Choreographer Ann Carlson will present the latest installment of her ongoing work, Real People, which she will create with members of the Portland community while in residence with PICA.

Hassidic New Wave
Jews & The Abstract Truth
Group members Frank London (The Klezmatics), David Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos), Kenny Davis (Herblie Hancock), Aaron Alexander, and co-founder Greg Wall, blend Klezmer and Middle Eastern musical traditions with jazz, rock, disco and improvizational styles to create an ecclectic and memorable sound experience.

Richard Foreman
Pearls for Pigs
Long considered the unofficial Merlin of New York’s downtown art scene, award-winning and internationally acclaimed playwright and director Richard Foreman brings his unique voice and vision into the heartland of America with his first national tour.

Drew Pisarra
Singularly Grotesque
Experimental theater artist Drew Pisarra is known to Portland audiences for his autobiographical monologues and his collaborations with local artists Katherine Peterson, Linda K. Johnson and Cynthia Ciamente, as well as through numerous productions at IMAGO Theater.

David Greenberger (Duplex Planet)
1001 Real Apes
David Greenberger weaves his monologues based on interviews with the residents of Boston’s Duplex Nursing home with the musical soundscapes of Birdsongs of the Mezzozoic, to create a poignant, profound and often humerous look at process of aging.

Rinde Eckert
Romeo Sierra Tango
The multitalented Rinde Eckert returns to Portland with his new solo performance piece, Romeo Sierra Tango, in which Shakespeare’s Romeo, having failed his suicide attempt, is instead condemned to a drastically slowed aging process and finds himself in an isolated no-man’s land on a World War I battlefield.

Antonio Caido
Characterized by its bold physicality and a distilled and precise dance vocabulary, the works of Brazilian choreographers Rosane Chamecki and Andrea Lerner have been described as “wonderfully drastic, vulnerable dancing” which is as fearless as it is poetic.

Scrap, the dance collective of Philadelphia-based choreographers Myra Bazell, Katharine Livingston and Eric Schoeffer, is known for its extravaganza, technical precision, anti-classical movement styles and precarious acrobatics which occupy both the stage floor and scaffolding which wraps the perimeter.

Season tickets available August 1st.

For more information, call PICA at 242-1419.