My Influences and Teachers – Bill Frisell



I’m writing this from Australia where I’m on tour playing big beautiful concert halls like the Sydney Opera house and Town Hall in Melbourne. I’ll soon be flying to Japan, New York, Toronto, London, and continuing like this all over the place. Treated like a king. I just came back from a walk around Sydney and heard I guy playing guitar and singing “Mr. Tambourine Man” on the street. I have no idea what his name was or where he comes from, but he sounded so good. He brought me to tears. He was the real deal….an incredible musician. The other night, after midnight I was walking back to my fancy hotel and under a bridge was a guy playing classical guitar. Same thing. Incredible beautiful music. I can’t figure out how this stuff works. Why am I playing in these big extravagant places and these guys are on the street? There are so many amazing unsung musicians all over the place. So many deserve wider recognition. I’ve been so lucky to meet and be encouraged by so many great musicians along the way. My first guitar teacher was Bob Marcus who taught at the Denver Folklore Center. This was an amazing place where I could just hang out and check out all kinds of music. When I got into jazz, I studied with Dale Bruning, a great great musician, teacher, human, living in Denver. I don’t know what or even if I’d be playing if it weren’t for him. I wish more people knew about him. Johnny Smith is another great guitarist I was lucky to meet who not enough people seem to remember. Other guitarists who have inspired me big time and that I don’t mention enough are Dennis Budimer, Jerry Hahn, Bruce Langhorn, Mike Miller, Michael Gregory Jackson, Sam Brown, Billy Bean, Tonk Edwards, Jon Damian, ……and so many many more. To be continued.


Bill Frisell

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