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Manya Meador, right, and Peggy John, both of Roseburg, talk while taking in the music of the Bill Frisell Trio featuring Tony Scherr and Kenny Wolleson on Tuesday evening at Stewart Park in Roseburg.

As the sun set to the west of Stewart Park, the Bill Frisell Trio made its debut at the Music on the Half Shell concert series with its freestyle jazz music Tuesday night.

Before the trio began, audience members were asked to put their phones away and be in the moment during the concert.

The Bill Frisell Trio played improvisational jazz that danced between blues, rock and reggae. Their songs blended together from one to the next and created a constant flow of mellow music.

Lauren Allree and Sarah Keller, of Roseburg, said the music was perfect for a Tuesday night.

“I would describe it as laid back and mellow. It’s easy to have a conversation and listen to in the park. It’s pretty smooth and catchy,” Allree said.

Clint Newell, one of the founding members of Music on the Half Shell, said he booked the trio for the concert series because of their prestige in the music scene and the quality of their music.

“Bill Frisell is a large figure in the music world,” Newell said. “When you have the opportunity to have an artist of that caliber to perform on your stage, you take advantage of it.”

Bill Frisell, lead guitarist, said the group has been performing together for the past 20 years.

“It’s a luxury being able to be with those guys,” Frisell said. “For me it’s so much about trust — you have to love each other to play with each other.”

Frisell said when the trio plays together, they tend to improvise and build off of songs they already know to create something new in the moment.

“When we play we don’t really plan. There’s no set list, we don’t have to talk about it, Frisell said. “Whatever’s in my imagination, whatever the situation inspires — I just start playing a song and it just sort of goes off.”

Monica Berger, who moved to Roseburg last November, attended her first concert on the Half Shell with her friend, Sandy Petti. She said the trio reminded her of Bob Marley and could sense reggae influences in some of their songs.

Tom and Robin Linneman, residents of Roseburg, said before the concert they had never heard of the trio, but thought the music was mellow and relaxing.

“(It’s) something that would be nice to listen to at a bistro with a glass of wine,” Tom said.

Peggy John and Manya Meador, long-time residents of Roseburg, have been attending these concerts for the past 20 years.

John said they enjoyed the trio’s music.

“We’ve both been jazz fans for years, so its been in our psyche,” Meador said.

The concert series continues next Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Skerryvore, a Scottish band that blends folk, rock, trad and pop.

Hannah Kanik is a general assignment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at hkanik@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4210. Or follow her on Twitter @hannah_kanik.

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Hannah Kanik is the Charles Snowden intern at The News-Review.

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