All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

719

Guitarist Fred Fried on 'When Winter Comes'

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
I
Fred Fried is a gifted guitarist and composer. He plays with a soft, subtle, and complex touch that takes full advantage of his skilled, emotive compositions. Fried is not only a gifted musician, he is also a man of great thought with whom it is fascinating to discuss music, history—just about any topic at all. Like many jazz musicians, he possesses both a keen intellect and great depth of feeling. It was as a result my distinct privilege to speak with Fried about his latest release, When Winter Comes.

The conversation took place early in the morning, and after discussing our mutual need for coffee, we began.



AAJ: Could you describe the origins of When Winter Comes, particularly the concept of using orchestrated strings?

Fred Fried: Well, you read the liner notes of course, and that is all true. I knew about Richard DeRosa. I had heard his arrangements on a recording about 12 years ago, so I just called him up. I always tend to write tunes that don’t seem to be your standard jazz vehicles. They seem to be more. There’s more harmony to them. I take melody very seriously. That’s what moves me. Actually, one of the things that got me interested in this whole thing was, strangely enough, Sibelious. Do you know about that?

AAJ: Not the composer?

FF: No, no, the software. The software was named after the composer.

AAJ: No, I’m not familiar with it.

FF: It’s a music writing software that enables you to notate music on the computer... which is becoming quite standard. That and Finale. So I got this just to print out my tunes so people can actually read them—my handwriting is pretty terrible—and turns out one of its features is that you can have your music played back over the computer speakers, by any number of instrumental voices. Now, most of them are terrible, I mean the guitar sounds are awful, everything is awful, except the piano and the string sounds are O.K. So I would write it out how I wanted it, and then I kind of said to myself, ‘Now, I wonder how this would sound on strings?’ And it was so nice hearing these tunes played back, that I was just amazed.

AAJ: Going back for a second to what you said about melody and harmony, one particular track immediately came to mind, “Hold Your Breath”, which has that beautifully penetrating melody. It’s not a typical jazz improv vehicle.

FF: Well, I’m approaching it more like a composer. I’m never thinking, ‘Is this going to be fun to blow on?’ If I did that, they wouldn’t come out anything like the way I want. And, again, some of them are very hard to blow on. I figure that’s a trade off. I want the song to be the way I want it, wherever it’s going to go. Like that piece, it’s got that section where the bass line goes up chromatically with that little motif (humming) and, I don’t know, I just love harmony and like to do different things. Fortunately for me, I didn’t presume to be an arranger, especially a string arranger...so I figured if I want this to be as good as it can be, I’d call Rich and see if he was interested.

AAJ: He did a fantastic job.

FF: Yes, he did.

AAJ: It seems you are both coming from a similar place.

FF: Right. I think he feels the tunes the way I do. To my great wonderment and joy. What he did, he gave them to me all on MIDI first, sort of simulated orchestrations, with simulated guitar sounds and everything...even then, I was struck immediately.

AAJ: So it seems technology is really opening things up.

FF: Well, it’s really a double-edged sword, the advent of MIDI and synthesizers. It really gives the composer freedom and at the same time a lot of what you hear in movies and recordings is not what you think it is. A lot of people have been put out of work.

AAJ: I also wanted to ask about the specifics of playing on a seven string.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Infantry of Leaves

Infantry of Leaves

Ballet Tree
2003

buy
When Winter Comes

When Winter Comes

Ballet Tree
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached Interviews
Linley Hamilton: Strings Attached
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Camille Bertault: Unity in Diversity Interviews
Camille Bertault: Unity in Diversity
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: April 10, 2018
Read Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education Interviews
Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 9, 2018
Read Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision Interviews
Fabian Almazan: Multilayered Vision
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 30, 2018
Read Ryuichi Sakamoto: Naturally Born to Seek Diversity Interviews
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Naturally Born to Seek Diversity
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 27, 2018
Read Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary Interviews
Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "The indefatigable Bill Frisell" Interviews The indefatigable Bill Frisell
by Mario Calvitti
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Piotr Turkiewicz: Putting Wroclaw On The Jazz Map" Interviews Piotr Turkiewicz: Putting Wroclaw On The Jazz Map
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education" Interviews Chad Taylor: Myths and Music Education
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 9, 2018
Read "Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix" Interviews Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 13, 2018
Read "Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary" Interviews Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018