Danielle Friedman is an Israeli-born, Germany-based pianist who offers up her debut recording with School Of Fish. Some musicians take a handful of recordings to find their voice. Friedman and her triowith bassist Aron Caceres and drummer David Jimenezhave done it coming out of the gate.
The album kicks off with "Shalom Ani Danielle," an achingly beautiful ballad that exploits repetition and a dynamic group interplay. "5 Trolls," the second tune of this all-Friedman-originals set, opens with a ninety-second drum solo followed by some delicate piano trills, soon joined by an ominous, lub-dub bass line. The music proves spacious and searching, until the group gels into a catchy, rubbery groove. "Morning + Night" begins in a solo piano mode, sounding majestic, like a sunrise. It seems like one of the more through-composed pieces, and it sounds as if drummer Jimenez has listened to some Billy Hart, and as though bassist Caceres has heard of Thomas Morgan, as they craft, with Friedman, a distinctive trio voice. Taken as a whole,
School Of Fish sounds as if it includes a good deal of improvisation, being playful one moment ("Mind You Mendel") and ominous the next ("Dread Change"). And, on "Piece Of Mind," a patient stateliness emerges, a showcase for Friedman's distinctive and sometimes angular piano style, while the closer, "Ach Leshalom," goes for pure prettiness, and hits the mark, on this auspicious debut.
As to Friedman's and her trio's voice: Compelling. It seems fully formed. They've pulled off their debut with style.
Shalom Ani Danielle; 5 Trolls; Morning + Night; Mind Your Mendel; Dread Change; David's Favorite Song; Piece of Mind;