Bill Frisell, A Portrait + Jenny Scheinman playing Bill’s tunes…

It was what they call a “save the date” message, sent out a few weeks ago by my friends in the Redwood Jazz Alliance, the hip crew that puts on cutting edge jazz shows here and there. If you have even a passing interest in jazz, they thought you’d want to see the film Bill Frisell, A Portrait, plus there’s that extra bonus, yes, a movie with an opening act, and oh what an opening act, Jenny Scheinman, a local treasure who’s played with Bill will play some of his tunes (who, unfortunately, Bill will only be there on the big screen).  Let me turn things over to the RJA folks to explain…

Bill Frisell, A Portrait – Trailer from Emma Franz on Vimeo.

We’re excited to be partnering with Arcata’s historic Minor Theatre for an exclusive North Coast screening of Australian filmmaker Emma Franz’s new documentary about the uncategorizable guitar virtuoso Bill Frisell, Monday, February 5th at 7:30 p.m. Violinist Jenny Scheinman, who has played with Frisell in several different bands over the past decade and a half, will start the evening with a selection of his tunes, in a duo with keyboardist John Wood.



When Bill Frisell: A Portrait opened in New York last month, the New York Times designated it a Critic’s Pick, noting that it “upends the myth that the great artist needs to be full of anger, or to behave badly, to be inspired.” Rolling Stone added that “a documentary on this major avant-jazz player [was] long overdue,” while All About Jazz called it “one of the most compelling, entertaining, and informative films made about a living music legend.”A character portrait of the anti-archetype guitar hero, this nuanced film traces the ideas and processes that shape Frisell’s music, providing rare insight into the mind and personality of one of the significant musicians of recent decades.

Full of live music, revealing stories, and intimate access to the normally reclusive Frisell, it follows various collaborations from development to fruition, including the last ever performance of the Paul Motian Trio with Frisell and Joe Lovano. Also featured are Bonnie Raitt, Hal Willner, Paul Simon, Nels Cline, Joey Baron, Jim Hall, Jason Moran, Mike Gibbs, John Zorn, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter and John Abercrombie.

If you haven’t yet checked out the newly renovated Minor, you’re in for a treat: in our humble opinion, it has the best sound and projection systems, the most comfortable seats, and the most appetizing food and drink of any theater in the county. Admission to this special event is $15 (sorry: we can’t offer our usual discount for students & seniors), and seating is limited to 100, so buy your tickets early!

As I assumed the show sold out quickly. I bought a few tix since I didn’t want to miss out. I love the idea of combining a film with some live music, and Jenny never disappoints.


If you were near New York, you might have heard her playing quite different music with her Mischief & Mayhem tour with Nels Cline, Jim Black, and Todd Sickafoose. (Jan. 18-21 at the Jazz Standard)…

Wanna hear a little of Jenny playing with Bill?

By the way, Redwood Jazz Alliance has a show coming up at The Sanctuary, Arcata with Ben Allison & Think Free on another Monday, February 19, (8 pm).
That’s Ben Allison, bass; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; Allan Mednard, drums (not the drummer in this vid)…

And here’s a little more from Mr. Frisell as one more teaser, in this case playing songs by John Lennon…

Will I see you the Minor? What else do you have planned for tonight? I happen to know where you can get a ticket. Contact me ASAP. I have one available as of 11:30 am. Do it now.

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