Word is that Friedman's husband, David Prager, is the one who has encouraged her piano playing and especially her efforts at vocalizing. So, we have Prager to thank for this diverting album of Friedman originals and standards from the Great American Songbook.
Friedman's sense of delivering a tune stems from perhaps being a musician first and a vocalist second. The opening tune, Friedman's "Swingin' for the Ride," is presented in an Oscar Brown Jr.-type musical environment with a tale that is both saucy and irresistible. As a vocalist, Friedman approaches a lyric with respect for the melody, which may earn her comparison to someone like Chet Baker.
Friedman gives inspired readings of the Rodgers & Hart "I Didn't Know What Time It Was, Louis Jordan's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't" and the Bonfa/Seligman "A Day in the Life (the English language version of "Manha de Carnaval" from Black Orpheus). She even presents a stimulating and different version of the Gershwins' "Summertime," the biggest surprise on the album.
Friedman's other originals mostly seem to smack of her newlywed status, with such romantic titles as " A Fairytale" and "The 'I Do' Song. Providing the musical backing are bassist Sean Conly, drummer Diego Voglino and percussionist Daniel Sadownick.
Track Listing: Swingin'for the Ride; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; A Fairytale; Is You Is or Is You Ain't; You 'n' Me; Don't Blame Me; A Day in the Life of a Fool; The "I Do" Song; Summertime; Meditation; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Seems Like A Dream.
Personnel: Janice Friedman: piano, vocals; Sean Conly: bass; Diego Voglino: drums; Daniel Sadownick: percussion.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.