It's taken a while to review School of Fish, the very engaging debut by pianist Danielle Friedman because it's so easy to get carried away by the imaginative leaps and bounds she and her trio take in pursuit of her musical wanderlust. So you listen. Then listen again. And again.
Written entirely by the Israeli born / NY schooled / German resident and ably abetted by bassist Aron Caceres and drummer David Jimenez, Friedman's School of Fish comes instantly to life with the graceful steps of a ballet dancer. Chamber-like in design until her inherent love of improvisation comes forward, "Shalom Ani Danielle" opens like a ballet of lotus flowers, its assertively melodic motif and Friedman's lyricism sweeping the tune forward.
"5 Trolls" opens with Jimenez rolling and quaking, Friedman tinkling and prowling and Caceres ploinking in and out of time, before a groove is established. There is a keen sense of dance and movement in Friedman's art, apparent throughout the entirety of School of Fish but most notably on "Morning + Night," an elegant, almost unending flow of perfectly balanced ideas, "David's Favorite Song," with its wrap-around spirals and "Dread Change," wherein Friedman pulls her tune from its opening dark rubato and reveals its Thelonious Monk-styled light.
Shalom Ani Danielle; 5 Trolls; Morning + Night; Mind Your Mendel; Dread Change; David's Favorite Song; Piece of Mind;
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