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Friesen/Zeitlin: In Concert

Glenn Astarita By

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With In Concert, pianist Denny Zeitlin and bassist David Friesen present the listener with a synergistic experience yet in several instances it seems that Friesen may have been mixed a bit low during the post engineering phase, especially when the estimable bassist works the upper registers. However, on Wayne Shorter’s always beautiful, yet mysterious “Speak No Evil”, Zeitlin melds skillful utilization of harmonics with Art Tatum-like two-hand chord progressions and meticulous improv while Friesen firms up the rhythms. The musicians perform a blistering version of Sonny Rollins’ classic composition, “Airegin” featuring Zeitlin’s surging chord clusters and piercing right hand lead soloing atop Friesen’s furious and quite disciplined pulse. Here, Zeitlin injects rapid bop lines, while Friesen embarks on a magnificent solo that could quite possibly reduce many bassists to tears or instill envy!

Throughout, these two master craftsmen engage a bevy of themes while partaking in several call and response episodes, deconstructing or diffusing melodies and regenerating the rhythms. On “New Tune Blues”, the musicians jab and spar while working within several bars of Blues based progressions along with shifts in tempo and keen improvisational dialogue. Overall, In Concert is pretty much what we would expect from these two highly esteemed artists despite a sometimes uneven audible mix yet the musicians perform with radiant enthusiasm while seemingly deriving inspiration from one another along the way......* * * ½

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