Never talk to your neighbor during the bass solo. You’ll miss the best part of many a performance. The artist moves up and down that delicate, centuries-old instrument, plucking one melody after another. By working in duo format with pianist Gary Versace, bassist David Friesen ensures that no one will care to converse during the performance. The pair captures your attention with gentle rhythmic motion and light, ethereal harmony. The session builds on tradition to express fresh ideas.
Standards “You and the Night and the Music” and “All or Nothing at All” receive mellow recognition at the start and finish. The remainder of each tune, however, allows space for each artist to explore. Pleasant and tranquil, the result carries the listener on a mid-summer journey through the country. The rest of the program is original music that both have contributed. “Sal’s Lament,” by the pianist, sums up most of the session thoroughly. On legato phrases, Versace overlaps tones and allows the harmony to penetrate the senses. It’s gentle music for gentle ears. In his more energetic explorations, however, the pianist whips up a gentle storm with clipped phrases and detached themes. Versace’s drier, up-tempo counterpoint contrasts markedly with Friesen’s seamless approach. The bassist allows his tones to ring fully and connects phrases naturally. At times, you can even hear him breathing in time with his bass phrasing. It’s that contrast and the gentle approach that makes this recommended album so interesting. Variety keeps the session fresh, while artistic expression captures your focused attention.
Personnel: David Friesen- bass; Gary Versace- piano.