AAJ: You've really gotten into doing standards.
DF: Standards for me, it's almost like, when you do original material, it's stuff that you haven't played for a long time, because it's new stuff. So the most comfortable way to play music is to play music that you've played for a long time. When I play a standard tune like "All the Things You Are", I don't have to think anymore about what's going to happen in the tune, it's just like a part of me and I can play off the tune and do whatever I want. It's something that comes from inside me but if I'm playing new material, whether it's an original or something that I haven't played before, I have to think of what's coming next, what chord is this. You have to start thinking so you're dividing your attention between your creative process and the basic thing of knowing where you are and what's coming next.
AAJ: In your long career, what is your fondest musical experience?
DF: I kind of feel that my fondest musical experience is always the most recent one. The thing that I did last night stands out in my mind. The last time I was at the Kitano and I was with the same group that I'm playing with now, we played a tune called "Never Let Me Go" that we play a lot and we got into some stuff there, I wish it had been recorded, because it was one of the best solos that I ever played. I got into stuff, I don't even know how I did it or what happened, I didn't know what I was doing in a way. I'll never forget it. I'm not the kind of a person who looks back too much. I'm aware of all the things that I've done but I don't focus on that. I think about what I want to do still. There's so much. Music is such a fantastic thing, you can never do everything so you're always thinking what can I do next? And how can I play better, how can I improve, how can I be more creative?
· Don Friedman - A Day in the City (Riverside-OJC, 1961)
· Booker Little - Out Front (Candid, 1961)
· Charles Lloyd - Discovery (Columbia, 1964)
· Don Friedman - Metamorphosis (Prestige-OJC, 1966)
· Don Friedman - Live at Maybeck, Vol.33 (Concord, 1993)
· Don Friedman - My Favorite Things, Then and Now (441 Records, 2003)
Jos L. Knaepen