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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Nighthawks

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Named after the famous Edward Hopper painting, which depicts four people in a diner late in the evening, Nighthawks was conceived by cellist Erik Friedlander under similarly evocative circumstances--during the nearly week-long blackout that enveloped much of New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in September of 2012. Inspired by the uncanny quiet and solitude, Friedlander set to work crafting a series of new compositions for his roots music-based Bonebridge quartet with slide guitarist Doug Wamble, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Michael Sarin.Despite being conceived during a power outage less than a year after his wife ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Claws & Wings

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How does one deal with the loss of a loved one? For many artists, expressing remorse through their work is a normal, sometimes necessary, part of the grieving process. Creative improvising musicians, like renowned cellist Erik Friedlander, are no exception.Lynn Shapiro, Friedlander's wife of 22 years (and an award winning choreographer and writer in her own right), died in November 2011 after a long bout with breast cancer. Just days after her passing Friedlander tore a ligament in his thumb during a biking accident, effectively sidelining him for months. Less than a year later however, Friedlander returned to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Bonebridge

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The quartet featured on Bonebridge is an augmented variation of cellist Erik Friedlander's Broken Arm Trio. The group, with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Mike Sarin, was originally conceived in tribute to Oscar Pettiford's cello experiments--which were undertaken in 1949 when the legendary bassist played the smaller instrument while recovering from a baseball injury. Refraining from bowing, Friedlander employs a fulsome pizzicato technique on the new ensemble's self-titled debut, finding supple concordance with slide guitarist Doug Wamble's spiky twang. Their mutual affinity for bluegrass, country and folk styles infuses the tuneful session with an air of bucolic Americana, an aesthetic ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Erik Friedlander

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Meet Erik Friedlander: Cellist Erik Friedlander is a composer and an improviser, a first-call studio player and a jazzbo. A veteran of NYC's downtown scene, his 12 CDs as a leader recently include, Block Ice & Propane, his solo cello reinterpretation of American roots music; The Broken Arm Trio, a trio tribute to jazz bassist Oscar Pettiford; and Volac, a romantic collection of virtuoso solo cello pieces by John Zorn. Erik has performed on 100's of recordings and soundtracks including work with Laurie Anderson, The Mountain Goats, Ennio Morricone, and Courtney Love. Instrument(s): cello

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Broken Arm Trio

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Inspired by the late great bassist Oscar Pettiford (1922-1960) who, after breaking his arm took up the cello is this project by the cellist Erik Friedlander. His Broken Arm Trio is a sweet downhome session full of homespun jazz. Together with bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Trio-Convulsant, Junk Genius) and drummer Mike Sarin (Thomas Chapin, Ben Allison, Mario Pavone) Friedlander puts down (for the most part) his bow to produce some inspired and folksy pizzicato playing.While Friedlander has made his way through the jazz and downtown worlds playing with the likes of John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Broken Arm Trio

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The self-titled debut of Downtown cellist Erik Friedlander's Broken Arm Trio refers to an injury that legendary bassist Oscar Pettiford sustained while playing baseball in 1949. Pettiford couldn't play upright bass with his arm in a sling, but he could handle the cello; he proceeded to develop a style on the smaller instrument that yielded a spate of cello-themed albums, including the classic My Little Cello (Fantasy, 1964), a personal favorite of Friedlander's.

Inspired by Pettiford's efforts, Friedlander enlisted bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Mike Sarin to accompany him on thirteen brief, self-penned originals that veer from ebullient ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Block Ice & Propane

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Erik Friedlander's last solo cello disc, the avant-tinged Maldoror (Brassland, 2003), was a series of in-the-moment improvisations inspired by 19th century French surrealist poetry. Block Ice & Propane is an entirely different beast, stimulated by memories of childhood camping trips across the United States, on which Friedlander's parents took him each summer. It's no less adventurous or spontaneous, but it is considerably more accessible--how Bill Frisell might sound, perhaps, had he chosen the cello rather than the guitar.

Friedlander's impressive and vast technical skill lets him transform the cello into an instrument that's played in many cases like a guitar, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Block Ice & Propane

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The seemingly endless horizon of the Great Plains. The vast expanse of “Big Sky country. The NYC skyline emerging after a long trip. Some features of America are best appreciated with the ground-level intimacy afforded by a classic road trip. And once experienced, they cannot help but leave an impression. Cellist Erik Friedlander used these impressions, gleaned from childhood family trips, as inspiration for his solo CD Block Ice & Propane. No stranger to developing extended techniques for cello, Friedlander wanted to expand his pizzicato palette by incorporating guitar methods, such as strumming and finger picking, having ...

INTERVIEWS

Erik Friedlander: Complexity, Simplicity and Arc

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Arguably the premier cellist in improvised music, New York musician Erik Friedlander has played with John Zorn, Dar Williams, Clogs, Laurie Anderson, Dave Douglas and Hole. His own groups have run the gamut from the chamber jazz--"chamber being a term Friedlander's come to loathe--of Chimera to the improvisational groove of Topaz. He's also a fine solo cellist who performs frequently, and fruitfully, in that setting. His new Topaz CD Prowl is the best recording yet from that band, and one of the best records of the year so far. I spoke with Friedlander about the new CD with Topaz, his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Prowl

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The seeds for Topaz were sown in 1996 when Erik Friedlander was scoring the dances for his wife, Lynn Shapiro's New York show, which he later performed with Andy Laster and Stomu Takeishi. There was enough empathy between them to inspire Friedlander to write some new tunes. But there was something missing: they needed more rhythmic complexity. Takeishi suggested that they ask his percussionist brother Satoshi to sit in. He did, and the pieces fell into place.

This is the Topaz quartet's fourth CD. The music focuses on African rhythms, but Freidlander goes beyond this to gather motifs of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Prowl

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One of the most highly regarded cellists in today's creative improvised music scene, Erik Friedlander has been integral to projects led by saxophonist John Zorn, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and a host of others. But his prolific yield as a sideman has at times overshadowed his own work. Prowl, a testament to Friedlander's talents as a composer and bandleader, should remedy that. Friedlander's Topaz quartet--with Andy Laster on alto saxophone and clarinet and the Takeishi brothers Stomu on bass and Satoshi on percussion--celebrates its tenth anniversary with this, the group's fourth CD. Their collective history is reflected in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Prowl

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While cellist Erik Friedlander's last release with his Topaz quartet, Quake (Cryptogramophone, 2003), was a more cosmopolitan affair, Prowl is more localized. Emphasizing African rhythms, largely from percussionist Satoshi Takeishi's unusual hybrid of traditional drums and assorted percussion esoterica, this may be Topaz's most focused release to date.

That's not to say there isn't plenty of diversity, nor should the group's stress of African rhythms suggest any kind of conventional world music approach. Topaz has always had a distinctive sound, and the front line of Friedlander's cello and Andy Laster's alto saxophone sometimes blends so completely that it sounds like ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Friedlander: Prowl

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With its African-inspired cover art and concentration on indigenous polyrhythms, Prowl presents cellist Erik Friedlander's Topaz quartet taking a virtual trip to the dark continent for a set of rhythmic excursions that are as adventurous as they are accessible. While the ensemble's Middle Eastern modality is still firmly in place, the group has opened itself up to a number of different traditional African rhythms on this captivating set.

Topaz, which celebrates its tenth anniversary with this fourth album, has long been Friedlander's primary vehicle for exploring global rhythms in a jazz context, and Prowl delivers evidence of that ...

Erik Friedlander's Vanishing Point: A Road Journal

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Erik Friedlander Vanishing Point Arconomics ARC01 2005

One man and a cello. It's hard to imagine that the instrument could occupy a solo space for the duration of an entire album, let alone a concert performance. But when the cellist is Erik Friedlander, a remarkable player who has worked with artists as broad-reaching as John Zorn, Joe Lovano, Fred Hersch and Marty Ehrlich, not to mention his own body of recordings including three with his genre-bending group Topaz, nothing should come as a surprise. Few cellists today demonstrate the combination of extended technique, quick ...



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