funchal jazz festival - DAY 3 - funchal, portugal, jul 15 - BILL FRISELL TRIO / CHARLES LLOYD QUARTET

  • photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas


Last day's performances triggered a whirl of emotions.
First we had guitarist Bill Frisell’s flawless trio, with Tony Scherr on electric bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums.

Always serene, smiling, and enjoying the wonderful interactive moments with his peers, Frisell showed off his unique sound as he kept mixing country, rock, blues, Americana, and jazz genres in a calm, seamless way. Most of the tunes were shaped with a peaceful tranquility, only very sporadically resorting to muscled textures wrapped up in sonic distortion. 

Without saying a word, Frisell played for 45 minutes, enchanting the audience through exquisite notes and voicings, all of them as much spacious as melodious, without ever losing concentration or the incredible sense of unity that his bands are known for.

Iconic old tunes from the 70s such as “Rambler”, whose relaxing melody sticks into our heads forever, and “Strange Meeting”, which carries both soulful and mysterious tones in its harmonious movements, were mandatory stops throughout this nostalgic journey, at least for the fans who are familiar with his work.

The song list also included more recent compositions such as “Pipeline”, with its static yet groovy swinging feel, Boubacar Traore’s “Baba Drame”, which embraces African traditions, “Small Town”, the composition that lent the title to his latest ECM album recorded with bassist Thomas Morgan, and Burt Bacharach’s “What The World Needs Now Is Love”, a mellifluous piece that finished the concert. 
Inevitably, the crowd called him again for an encore. 

photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas


Frisell ended up playing the following set since he unexpectedly accompanied the unmatchable saxophonist Charles Lloyd and his new quartet composed of Gerald Clayton on piano (filling in for Jason Moran), Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Apart from Clayton, all these members are also part of a quintet called The Marvels, whose debut album was released last year.

By spreading a spirituality that goes deep and wide, Lloyd has filled my eyes with tears, whether through exultant, danceable themes or touching ballads that take us to sound-based meditations.
There has always been something special in his music whose impact on me is tremendous. I truly believe that what he plays is something beyond the rational, something that comes from the soul.

I reached a marvelous state of ecstasy with “Nu Blues”, delivered with an impeccable yet unusual Parker-ish bop vibe, the soulful “Monk’s Mood”, and the groovy “Tagore on the Delta”, in which Lloyd played flute and invited everyone to clap hands according to the ravishing rhythm. On this last tune, the saxophonist also played hand percussion with a contagious enthusiasm while Clayton embarked on an inventive improvisation.

The best was reserved to the end, and “Passin’ Thru” showed how stunning a spirited blend of jazz and world music can be.

Totally surrendered to the music, the audience demanded an encore and Lloyd acquiesced with another mighty ballad followed by the traditional Mexican folk song “La Llorona”.
Simply irresistible and… unforgettable!!