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Don Friedman: Live at JazzBaltica

Andrey Henkin By

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This group featured on this album, yet another in the happy slew of recordings coming out from Don Friedman in the last few years, is billed as the Salzau Trio. What this means is that on the occasion of Friedman's invitation to the 14th Annual JazzBaltica Festival in Salzau, Germany, he convened a trio with regular bassist Martin Wind and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington for a first-time appearance. The result, a set from July 3, 2004, was recorded and released by the German Skip Records label.

Friedman turned seventy last May and occupies a singular place in today's piano realm. During a career that began in the '50s, he witnessed and led some of the most innovative piano trios in jazz history; during the '60s, he participated in some very progressive small group sessions with guitarist Attila Zoller that still resonate today; and he has had the longevity to continue his career with a steady stream of originals and tasteful interpretations of standards.

Live at JazzBaltica is the best of the current Friedman. The first four of seven tracks are standards of a sort: "I Hear a Rhapsody and "Alone Together are warhorses, but Friedman tweaks them enough to make them unpredictable. "You Must Believe in Spring (Legrand) and "Bud Powell (Corea) came after Friedman had established himself, but he plays them with the same elegance as the older pieces. The rhythm section plays along nicely, especially Carrington, who is not often this refined.

The set ends with three new Friedman originals from his last couple of records. "Memory of Scotty is a tribute to Scott LaFaro which gets a little maudlin (and sounds eerily like Lionel Richie's "Endless Love in parts). "35 W. 4th Street is a new song that could have been a standard from forty years ago—it's that classic. The closer is "Half & Half, the fastest tune on the disc and a good opportunity for Friedman, Wind, and Carrington to leave the German audience buzzing with excitement.

Track Listing: I Hear A Rhapsody; You Must Believe In Spring; Bud Powell; Alone Together; Memory Of Scotty; 35 W 4th Street; Half And Half.

Personnel: Don Friedman: piano; Terri Lyne Carrington: drums; Martin Wind: bass.

Title: Live at JazzBaltica | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Skip Records

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