Bob DeVos and Don FriedmanNyack Library Carnegie RoomNyack, NYJune 29, 2012The spate of live performances that expressly pay tribute to various figures from bygone eras of jazz raises a number of complex questions about the music and the business which surrounds it. Do concerts and club dates in honor of musicians ranging from Duke Ellington to Louis Prima represent a marketing ploy to attract listeners who are reluctant to venture out to hear performers with unfamiliar names? Are these events exercises in recreating the music's storied past? Or, are they a tacit admission that jazz ...read more
Don Friedman Waltz For Marilyn Jazz Excursion Records 2007
In jazz, for all of its love of the all-star session, the long-term collaboration is of utmost importance. There have been many such relationships: bassist Charles Mingus and reed player Eric Dolphy, saxophonist John Coltrane and drummer Elvin Jones, trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. When players reach a level of understanding, notions of leaders and sidemen or soloists and accompanists become superfluous. One such association is that of pianist Don Friedman and guitarist Attila Zoller. The two, on ...read more
The impressive vita and discography of Don Friedman are but touchstones to the musicianship of this pianist who, like Kenny Barron and Hank Jones, navigates the jazz mainstream while remaining perpetually fresh if not cutting edge. On Waltz for Marilyn the seasoned veteran is joined by three like-minded, proven young musicians who bring the leader's conceptions to realization while making strong statements of their own. It's as though the pianist's flowing inventiveness has been magnified by four.
The program is practically a cross-section of jazz styles from the past sixty years, striking an optimal balance between ensemble cohesion and individual ...read more
It is no coincidence that jazz emerged around the same time that Edison invented the phonograph. Both jazz and recording by electrical impulses were among the early signs of modernity. Furthermore, jazz is an improvisational form of music that is composed as it is performed, and, unlike classical music with its well-tempered scale and relatively uniform standards, jazz is almost impossible to notate in more than its barest outlines. The only viable way to preserve it is on recordings. Recordings are the footprints of the jazz Goliath as it wends its way through time. However, unlike live performances, the only ...read more
Don Friedman Trio with Gary Smulyan Kitano Lounge New York, NY March 9, 2007
Without any fanfare Don Friedman's piano a cappella intro to Alone Together intricately established the melody and sequence of his first performance on Friday the 9th of March 2007 before the evening's lead instrument, an antique green-tinged brass saxophone played by the youthful Gary Smulyan--bespeckled above, soul patch below and wearing a beret on top--stood in the piano curve improvising with the power of a full-ranged baritone saxophonist supported by Doug Weiss on a gorgeous dark-maroon wooded, recently repaired ...read more
At a venerable 71 years old, California-born pianist Don Friedman still has his formidable technique firmly in place. He's playing with the attack of a young man--and the devil-may-care abandon of a mature artist wholly at ease with himself.
The subtitle From A To Z refers to Friedman's friend and collaborator, the Hungarian guitarist Attila Zoller (1927-98), to whose memory this album is dedicated. Friedman and Zoller first played together in Herbie Mann's band in the early 1960s, and by mid-decade they were leading their own West Coast-based quartet.
The reason why Friedman has waited eight years to record this ...read more
Bill Evans Trio At Shelly's Manne-Hole Riverside/Concord 2006
He's been gone since 1980, over a quarter century. Yet Bill Evans' influence continues to grow. This 1963 session, with Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums) at Shelly Manne's famed Hollywood club, is like the superb Complete Village Vanguard Recordings 1961 (Riverside, 2005)--an opportunity to savor hearing him captured in a live performance. What's heard here and on the rest of the Manne-Hole sets on Time Remembered (Milestone), as well as on the Vanguard set with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, is Evans ...read more