All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

240

Erik Friedlander: Bonebridge

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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 Michael 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 Friedlander previously explored on his 2007 solo set Block Ice & Propane (Skipstone).

The date's heartland melodies are inspired in part by Friedlander's memories of a family vacation to the 1971 Galax Fiddlers Festival in Galax, Virginia. The trip, a work assignment for his father, the photographer Lee Friedlander, made a lasting impression on the young cellist. "Low Country Cupola," the album's soulful down-home opener, evokes such festivities, revealing Friedlander and Wamble's congenial rapport with a series of lyrical fretboard ruminations that ebb and flow with dusky, Bill Frisellian ambience and affable melodiousness.

Buoyed by a bright tempo and effervescent theme, the upbeat "Beaufain Street" follows in turn, conjuring the good-natured interplay of spirited bluegrass jams. "The Reverend" presents a slightly more sobering vision, awash with lush legato sentiments and bittersweet harmonies. There are occasional detours into more exotic territory as well, with the austere classicism of "Caribou Narrows" and the hot jazz stylings of the tango-inflected "Hanky Panky" expanding the band's stylistic palette beyond Appalachia.

Friedlander plays pizzicato almost exclusively throughout the recording, conspiring with Wamble's rustic variations and Dunn's earthy musings. Sarin's understated approach provides a dynamic range of support for the plucky strings, from the spectral accents of the cinematic tone poem "Bridge to Nowhere" to the sprightly swing of the boppish blues "Tabatha," which unveils a string of vivacious statements capped by a cheeky Thelonious Monk quote from Wamble. Driven by Friedlander's aching arco glissandi, the moody "Down at Bonebridge" closes the record with a dreamy vibe similar to the recent efforts of John Zorn's Bar Kokhba and Dreamers sextets—of which Friedlander and Dunn are respective members. Drawing stylistic parallels between the work of Downtown icons like Frisell and Zorn with a roots-based approach, Bonebridge knits together a colorful patchwork of Americana that extends the sentimental resonance of rural folk traditions into exploratory new territory.

Track Listing: Low Country Cupola; Beaufain Street; Transpontine; The Reverend; Caribou Narrows; Tabatha; Hanky Panky; Bridge to Nowhere; Down at Bonebridge.

Personnel: Erik Friedlander: cello; Doug Wamble: guitar; Trevor Dunn: bass; Mike Sarin: drums.

Title: Bonebridge | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Skipstone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Rings

Rings

Skipstone Records
2016

buy
Illuminations

Illuminations

Skipstone Records
2015

buy
Oscalypso

Oscalypso

Skipstone Records
2015

buy
Nighthawks

Nighthawks

Skipstone Records
2014

buy
Claws & Wings

Claws & Wings

Skipstone Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen) CD/LP/Track Review
Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)
by Barry Witherden
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Influences CD/LP/Track Review
Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read async Remodels CD/LP/Track Review
async Remodels
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Way Out West CD/LP/Track Review
Way Out West
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Meditation / Resurrection" CD/LP/Track Review Meditation / Resurrection
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Living Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Living Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Zea" CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017