Bill Frisell's "Guitar In The Space Age"  at Rochester International Jazz Festival

We queued up for Bill Frisell's "Guitar In The Space Age" at Kilbourn and ran into our jazz buddy, Hal, who was recovering from a sports injury. We compared notes on the upcoming acts and broke into the dinner we had packed. Hugh from Nod was up from Ithaca and in line ahead of us. The time went fast.

Kenny Wollesen was on drums. Tony Scheer, who has played with everyone from The Lounge Lizards to Willie Nelson, was on electric bass and Buffalo native, Greg Leisz, played pedal steel guitar and additional guitar. Frisell's idea of guitar in the space age is decidedly American. We probably do have more junk floating around up there than any other country. The band toyed with Western swing with Hawaiian touches, a two-beat Americana thing, the Kinks "Tired of Waiting" and something funky that sounded like "Mustang Sally" or "Walking The Dog." Leisz sounded fantastic on slide but he switched to guitar for the middle of the set and that somehow managed to dilute what we came to hear. Brian Wilson's "In My Room" was rich, "Telstar" was perfect and their version of "Surfer Girl" almost made me cry.

"I tell you this every time I play here. They wouldn't let me in this school," Frisell said from the hall in the Eastman School of Music. "45 years later I come back playing surf music to a standing ovation."

photo by P Doddy - click photo to advance > next