Blue Note Records Signs Bill Frisell

The guitarist's first album as leader for the label, Harmony, is scheduled for fall 2019

Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell (photo: courtesy of Blue Note Records)

Bill Frisell has appeared on a lot of albums over the past 25-plus years that have borne the Blue Note label—from John Scofield’s Grace Under Pressure and Don Byron’s Romance with the Unseen to Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me and Charles Lloyd’s Vanished Gardens—but the lauded guitarist, composer, and bandleader has never released an album on Blue Note under his own name. That’s about to change. The iconic record company, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, announced earlier today that it had signed Frisell, and that his first album as a leader for the label, Harmony, will be released this fall.

An official release date and further details about the album are still to come. In the meantime, you can go to Blue Note’s website and stream a playlist of tracks from the label’s back catalog featuring Frisell.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not, depending on what you believe), among Frisell’s earliest influences as a player were the tracks by Thelonious Monk, James Moody, and many others on an LP anthology called Blue Note’s Three Decades of Jazz, Volume 1—released in 1969 to celebrate the label’s 30th anniversary. “It’s wild, at this point in my life, thinking back all the way to high school and all these strands of things coming together,” Frisell said in a statement issued by the label. “And here I am now—I have an album coming out on Blue Note. Is it possible that I could be part of all this?”

As even a cursory glance through Frisell’s nearly 40-year discography—or a look at Emma Franz’s recent documentary Bill Frisell: A Portrait—will prove, he’s already been “part of all this” for a long time now; signing to Blue Note just makes it that much more official.