The Karbank Residency

In April, 2019, The Tank Center for Sonic Arts brought guitarist/composer Bill Frisell and filmmaker Bill Morrison to Rangley for an open-ended residency, to play and experiment with the Tank’s acoustical and visual capacities, to carry out initial interviews and research, and to learn about the region from local residents, and others.  At the Residency, Frisell and Morrison began to create music and images to tell the history of The Tank as a way of evoking the larger story of the American West.

Morrison filmed interviews with local people, aged 8 to 80, each telling the story of their lives and the Tank.  He also shot hours of Bill Frisell playing in the Tank and got drone and other footage of the Tank and its nearby environment, including the site of ancient Native American rock art, about eight miles from town.  He later identified archival film of the Tank, as well as other film stock from the Colorado Train Museum in Golden.

As part of the Karbank Residency, The Tank also brought digital projection specialist Paul Sangster to Rangely.  Sangster cast huge images on the Tank and the surrounding landscape.

The work done during this Residency will come to fruition on August 28, 2021, as a concert at the Tank by Bill Frisell with towering visual projections by Bill Morrison, the event itself to be filmed for a forthcoming documentary.

The guitarist, composer and arranger Bill Frisell was born in Baltimore in 1951 and spent most of his youth in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area. After graduating from Northern Colorado, where he studied with Johnny Smith, Frisell went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Jon Damian and Jim Hall. Frisell’s career has spanned more than 40 years and dozens of celebrated recordings.  His eclectic output as a bandleader has emphasized folk, country music, and Americana. In the early 1990s Frisell made one of his best reviewed albums:  Have a Little Faith, an ambitious survey of American music, from Charles Ives and Aaron Copland (the entirety of “Billy the Kid”) to John Hiatt (the title song), Bob Dylan (“Just Like a Woman”) and Madonna (“Live to Tell”).   Frisell’s work has often been honored by Grammy Awards.  He won the 2005 Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for his album Unspeakable, and he was nominated in 2003 for his album The Intercontinentals (Best Contemporary World Music), in 2009 for History, Mystery (Best Jazz Instrumental), in 2015 for Guitar In the Space Age! (Best Contemporary Instrumental), and in 2016 for When You Wish Upon a Star (Best Contemporary Instrumental).  His new trio album with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston will soon be released on the Blue Note label.  Recognized as one of Americas 21 most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in 2012.   He is also a recipient of grants from United States Artists and Meet the Composer, among others. A recent documentary film by director Emma Franz, entitled Bill Frisell: A Portrait, examines his creative process in depth.

Bill Morrison is an American, New York-based filmmaker and artist. His films often combine rare archival material set to contemporary music, and have been screened in theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls around the world.  Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1965, Morrison had a mid-career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2015.  He is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and has received the Alpert Awards in the Arts, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2003).  His theatrical projection design with Ridge Theater has been recognized with two Bessie Awards, and an Obie Award.  Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Henryk Górecki, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kronos Quartet, David Lang, Steve Reich, & Julia Wolfe, among many others.  Decasia (2002), his feature length collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, was selected by the Library of Congress to its National Film Registry in 2013, becoming the first film of the 21st century selected to the list.