Frisell joins School of Music faculty

Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell -

Guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Ted Poor were recently appointed to the UW jazz studies faculty. 

Photo by Steve Korn | Courtesy Photo

Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell

Jazz musician Bill Frisell recently joined the UW community with his appointment as affiliate professor at the UW’s School of Music Jazz Studies program. Although the leading guitarist has been touring across the country, with this recent appointment, he looks forward to being around campus more.

“This will give me the opportunity to make my roots here in town deeper,” Frisell said. “And I feel like I can learn as much from the students as they can learn from me. Music is such an overwhelming thing. That’s one of the first things that I tell students — that there’s not a point you reach where you’re finished.”

Frisell is known for musical roots that lace and tunnel through various influences and styles including jazz, folk, blues, and rock. His aptness for improvisation renders his music uncategorizable, a fact that sits comfortably with his bands whenever they play together. Notwithstanding, much of his work has been innately suffused with jazz influence. In 1995, his album “Unspeakable” won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. He has released more than 30 albums throughout his career.

Professor Cuong Vu, the head of the jazz studies program, sees the appointment as an opportunity for students to become more inspired.

“I think it’s important for aspiring students to be around master musicians,” Vu said. “While students can get used to hearing what we tell them, bringing in artists and people who are out there making things happen, it definitely resonates with them a little bit more.”

Vu added that he had been talking to Frisell about joining the music school when he first became a faculty member. Vu said Richard Karpen, the director of the School of Music, had been completely supportive of the decision for the faculty addition.

Ted Poor, who recently joined the UW School of Music as an artist-in-residence said he’s excited about working with Frisell.

“Bill is an incredibly gracious and humble positive force that he lifts the spirit of any room that he’s in,” he said.

Both Frisell and Poor have been influential in their unique takes on jazz and improvised music. Poor started playing the drums at the age of three and has grown to establish himself as an in-demand musician. The two first started playing together in 2005 on a recording called “It’s Mostly Residual” together with Vu.

Poor, Frisell, and Vu more recently took to the stage together in November at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Meany Hall. The Earshot Festival was a series of four concerts, three of which were held in partnership with the UW.

Reach reporter Naqiah Azhar at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @naqiazh

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