Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell brings interpretations of John Lennon tunes to Mondavi

By From page A11 | May 06, 2014


Bill Frisell will perform interpretations of John Lennon tunes at Mondavi on May 14. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy photo

Guitarist and composer Bill Frisell came of age in the early 1960s — and like many young teens at the time, he was captivated by the look, sound and attitude of The Beatles, and John Lennon in particular.

Frisell grew up and became a highly influential jazz artist — recording numerous albums for ECM, Nonesuch and other labels. But Frisell was drawn back to Lennon’s music during a European tour in 2005, when he and vocalist Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Greg Leisz got a request to adapt some Lennon tunes for a concert in Paris.

“It felt so good that we decided to play this (Lennon-related) material for the rest of the tour,” Frisell recalled. “We never announced or advertised that we would be doing this. We never told the audience. It was far out checking out their reaction when, after two or three songs, they started realizing what was happening.”

Frisell turned to Lennon’s music again when he played Yoshi’s in the Bay Area in 2010. The following year, Frisell and his musical partners recorded “All We Are Saying,” an album on the Savoy label composed of adapted Lennon material.

Frisell and four others who played on that album will perform a concert featuring much of this material on Wednesday, May 14, at 8 p.m. at the Mondavi Center. Tickets start at $25 general, $12.50 for UC Davis students, and are available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Frisell’s concert will be preceded by a free outdoor concert at 6:30 p.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Corin Courtyard by guitarist Ross Hammond and his quartet.

Jeff Hudson

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