All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Erik Friedlander: Oscalypso

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
As a veteran of the fertile 1990s Downtown NYC scene, cellist Erik Friedlander has been involved in myriad creative endeavors, including innovative sideman work with Dave Douglas and John Zorn, while leading his own unique ensembles, such as Chimera and Topaz. More recently, Friedlander has been performing solo and developing projects inspired by rural Americana, but he has never released an album of covers—until now.

Oscalypso features creative reinterpretations of nine of Oscar Pettiford's most beloved tunes. Although Friedlander hasn't actually recorded Pettiford's compositions before, this effort can be heard as an extension of Broken Arm Trio (Skipstone, 2008), Friedlander's original tribute to the renowned contrabassist's groundbreaking cello experiments, which Pettiford first embarked upon in 1949 while recuperating from a broken arm.

Friedlander is joined on the frontline by saxophonist Michael Blake, whose impulsive phrasing and breathy high notes contrast with the leader's classical form and pure tone, yielding multihued juxtapositions. Regularly engaging in deft interplay with Blake, Friedlander plucks, strums, and bows plangent refrains with lyrical sustain, while the saxophonist occasionally harmonizes on two horns simultaneously (ala Rahsaan Roland Kirk), reinforcing the program's nostalgic post-war ambience. Providing understated support, Friedlander's longstanding rhythm section of bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Michael Sarin lend the proceedings a suitably carefree, chamber-esque quality.

The engaging program encapsulates an array of styles and moods culled from Pettiford's songbook, ranging from the plucky "Cello Again" and jaunty "Cable Car" to the languid "Two Little Pearls." Venturing into exotic territory, the flamenco-infused "Tamalpais Love Song" and the tango-based "Sunrise Sunset" recall Friedlander's evocative work with Zorn, more so than Pettiford's customary bebop.

Brimming with gorgeous melodies, lush harmonies and captivating rhythms, Friedlander's beguiling arrangements provide a rich foundation for the group to test its improvisational mettle. Focusing on reconfigured classics rather than new compositions, Oscalypso is more than just a delightful homage to a renowned master—it is a signifier of Friedlander's skills as an imaginative interpreter of traditional jazz repertoire.

Track Listing: Bohemia After Dark; Oscalypso; Cello Again; Two Little Pearls; Pendulum At Falcon's Lair; Tricotism; Tamalpais Love Song; Cable Car; Sunrise Sunset.

Personnel: Eric Friedlander: violoncello; Michael Blake: sassofoni; Trevor Dunn: contrabbasso; Michael Sarin: batteria.

Title: Oscalypso | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Skipstone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Mixcloud
Live Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Rings by Enrico Bettinello
  • Rings by Jakob Baekgaard
Read more articles
Artemisia

Artemisia

Skipstone Records
2018

buy
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 Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Months, Weeks and Days CD/LP/Track Review
Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Space Is The Place CD/LP/Track Review
Space Is The Place
by James Fleming
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Poetry in Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Today" CD/LP/Track Review Today
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk
by John Sharpe
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Haberdashery" CD/LP/Track Review Haberdashery
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: March 27, 2018