Bill Frisell reflects on ‘loss, renewal and friendships’ with new album Four

Bill Frisell has announced the followup to his acclaimed 2020 trio album Valentine.

Blue Note Records describes Four as “a stunning 13-track meditation on loss, renewal and friendships.” It’s the guitarist and composer’s third album for Blue Note since signing with the label in 2019.

Four features a few new interpretations of previously recorded Frisell originals as well as nine brand-new tunes.

Produced by Lee Townsend, the session brings together a new lineup of musicians: pianist Gerald Clayton, drummer Johnathan Blake, and longtime collaborator Greg Tardy on saxophone and clarinets.

Listen to Waltz for Hal Willner, a heartfelt tribute to Frisell’s dear friend:

Much of Four was written during lockdown.

“It was traumatic not to be with people, so I picked up my guitar, and my guitar saved me,” Frisell says.

By the time he had scheduled the recording sessions for Four, he’d amassed piles of notebooks filled with fragmented music. Frisell brought those bare sketches to his fellow musicians and encouraged a kind of spontaneous, cooperative orchestration.

“Everyone had the information, but it was super open as far as who plays what when,” he says. “Without a bass, it was a little scary, but I wasn’t thinking so much about the instruments. It’s always more about the chemical reaction that’s going to happen.”

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Here’s the track listing:

  1. Dear Old Friend (for Alan Woodard)
  2. Claude Utley
  3. The Pioneers
  4. Holiday
  5. Waltz for Hal Willner
  6. Lookout for Hope
  7. Monroe
  8. Wise Woman
  9. Blues from Before
  10. Always
  11. Good Dog, Happy Man
  12. Invisible
  13. Dog on a Roof

Bill Frisell’s Four will be released Nov. 11, 2022, via Blue Note.