Jazz Guitarist Bill Frisell on How Complexity is Trumped By What You Bring

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“I used to equate complexity with better music. How could you say that Segovia is more advanced than Robert Johnson or Jimi Hendrix or Wes Montgomery? … for me there’s no higher or lower… it just depends what you can bring to it or what your imagination can come up with.”

– Bill Frisell

(From Bill Frisell Solos DVD)

Yeats labeled our reverence of complexity, a ‘fascination of what’s difficult’. He goes on to say what that fascination did to him: “has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent  spontaneous joy and natural content out of my heart.”

That’s what happens when seek out ‘advanced’ ways of doing our work, of playing music. The spontaneous joy leaves. Sometimes good things come from that. Rumi calls this “rewarding bitterness with care”.

But if you’re looking for more play, then the level of trusting what your unique strengths and passions are – what you bring to ‘it’ – whatever ‘it’ is for you. And to trust that whatever your imagination can come up with. That trumps any experts’ wisdom or standard way of doing things. I write these words both to remind myself – in music and work – and to remind you of what we innately already know to be true.

You can see Bill perform here.


Quixote Consulting helps teams become artists of their work with music team building activities such as Play the Blues harmonica team building, Give the Kids Music, Music of Teams, Build a Team Song, Bang On My Drum All Day, Networking Music Dinner and more.

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