ISBN-10: 0571361668
ISBN-13: 9780571361663
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 05/24/2022
Dimensions: 9.40" L, 6.30" W, 2.20" H

Bill Frisell, Beautiful Dreamer: The Guitarist Who Changed the Sound of American Music


Price: $30.00


The definitive biography of guitar icon and Grammy Award-winning artist, Bill Frisell.

FEATURING EXCLUSIVE LISTENING SESSIONS WITH: Paul Simon; Justin Vernon of Bon Iver; Gus Van Sant; Rhiannon Giddens; The Bad Plus; Gavin Bryars; Van Dyke Parks; Sam Amidon; Hal Willner; Jim Woodring; Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill.

‘A beautiful and long overdue portrait of one of America’s true living cultural treasures.’


‘The perfect companion-piece to the music of its subject.’


‘Outlines the subject’s life in a series of scrupulous strokes and intimate interviews that are rare in such undertakings . . . a cool, casual victory.’


Over a period of forty-five years, Bill Frisell has established himself as one of the most innovative and influential musicians at work today.

Growing up playing clarinet in orchestras and marching bands, Frisell has progressed through a remarkable range of musical personas – from devotee of jazz master Jim Hall to ‘house guitarist’ of estimable German label ECM, from edgy New York downtown experimentalist to plaintive country and bluegrass picker. He has been a pioneering bandleader and collaborator, a prolific composer and arranger and a celebrated Grammy Award winner.

A quietly revolutionary guitar hero who has synthesised many disparate musical elements into one compellingly singular sound, Frisell connects to a diverse range of artists and admirers, including Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Gus Van Sant, Marianne Faithfull and Justin Vernon, many of whom feature in this book.

Through unprecedented access to the guitarist and interviews with his close family, friends and associates, Philip Watson tells Frisell’s story for the first time.

‘Stuffed with musical encounters, so many that every couple of pages there’s an unheard Frisell recording for the reader to chase down.’


‘Superb . . . the book races along like Sonny Rollins in full sail. Like subject, like writer: this is super-articulate, adventurous prose.’


‘[Watson’s] writing balances unbridled passion and dispassionate research nearly as deftly as Mr. Frisell’s playing does sound and silence . . . compelling.’



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"A beautiful and long overdue portrait of one of America's true living cultural treasures–Bill of the most beloved and influential guitarists of all time. A brilliant book about a brilliant musician. If music was a religion Bill Frisell would be a Saint."– John Zorn

"Bill Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis played the trumpet." – New Yorker

"A genius." – Marianne Faithfull

"One of America's most unique musicians, one of the great American voices." – Elvis Costello

"My favourite guitarist in the whole world, the best living contemporary guitar player." – Lucinda Williams

"The author delivers a must-read for Frisell's fans and a compelling introduction to those less familiar with his playing...A fascinating musical biography of one of today's most versatile and unique guitarists." – Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

"Warm-hearted, collaborative, and discreet to the point of being almost ambient, Beautiful Dreamer manages to be the perfect companion-piece to the music of its subject." – MOJO

"Remarkably comprehensive...Watson consolidated so much information, gathered so many testimonies and connected so many dots in this admirable undertaking that it's hard to believe it's the Irish scribe's first published book..." – Downbeat

"Looks set to become the definitive document of one of North America's living guitar legends . . . beautifully written and addictively constructed - we suspect the only reason fans will want to put it down is to pick up their guitars." – Guitar World

"A revelatory, roots and branches portrait of one of America's greatest synthesisers of musical ideas." – All About Jazz

"Beautiful Dreamer is the perfect title for Watson's book . . . like a Frisell tune, [it] takes its time, slowly revealing the inner workings of its subject matter." – Jazzwise

"The most thorough, exhaustively researched biography that I have ever read about a living jazz musician." – Jazziz

"A sumptuous feast for Frisell's many fans." – Austin Chronicle

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 0571361668
ISBN-13: 9780571361663
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 05/24/2022
Dimensions: 9.40" L, 6.30" W, 2.20" H
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