Bill Frisell And The Great Flood

From the world premiere of The Great Flood at ELLNORA

Last month Bill Frisell premiered The Great Flood at ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival  at the Kranert Center, University of Illinois. Below we will feature a 5 minute excerpt from the piece, as well as a short documentary clip with Mr. Frisell and the director of The Great Flood film, Bill Morrison.

Aside from the artistry of these musicians, the project also highlights one of the key moments in the ever-changing rural-urban conversation, a period of time which gave birth to so many of the art forms and ideas we have covered in these pages.

This is a preview of an evening long suite – 75 minutes of original music to be composed and performed by Bill Frisell, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen and  Ron Miles with accompanying film and staging by Bill Morrison, based on the Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and the ensuing transformation of American society and music. Frisell’s wide-ranging musical palette will use elements of the vocabulary in American roots music, but as always, it will be refracted through his own inimitable lens and filters to yield a highly personal and illuminating musical vision, with the overall objective of contributing to a journey of discovery for the audience.

The Mississippi River Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in American history. In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its banks in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles to a depth of up to 30 feet.  Part of it’s enduring legacy was the mass exodus of displaced sharecroppers. Musically, the “Great Migration” of rural southern blacks to Northern cities saw the Delta Blues electrified and reinterpreted as the Chicago Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll. [reprinted from the project’s United States Artists page]