All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

218

Don Friedman: Waltz for Marilyn

By

Sign in to view read count
The impressive vita and discography of Don Friedman are but touchstones to the musicianship of this pianist who, like Kenny Barron and Hank Jones, navigates the jazz mainstream while remaining perpetually fresh if not cutting edge. On Waltz for Marilyn the seasoned veteran is joined by three like-minded, proven young musicians who bring the leader's conceptions to realization while making strong statements of their own. It's as though the pianist's flowing inventiveness has been magnified by four.

The program is practically a cross-section of jazz styles from the past sixty years, striking an optimal balance between ensemble cohesion and individual expressiveness. None of it strays far from swing—not merely a group "vibe" but a deep and infectious groove.

The set opens irresistibly with Friedman's "Theme for Cee Tee," a blues variant with a harmonically-adventurous bridge. Friedman and guitarist Peter Bernstein play as one on the melody while bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tony Jefferson summon up the two-beat feel of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones respectively, before laying down a 4/4 carpet for the solos. If the reminder of Miles' first quintet were not already firmly implanted, Wind clinches it with a bowed solo that goes one better than Chambers: alternating between arco and pizzicato he plays two choruses of call-response with himself! Even to listeners not familiar with Clark Terry's two-horn routine, it's one bass solo guaranteed not to go unnoticed.

Friedman's arrangement of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is a nod to the Lenny Tristano school of extemporaneous counterpoint and validation of Lee Konitz's apparent unwillingness to stop playing the tune. Friedman builds a dramatic solo, climaxing in ascending thirds topped off by block chords. For once, Cole Porter's anthem to harmonic ambivalence is no split decision but an incontestable victory.

The deceptively titled original, "Summer's End," is no languorous tone poem but a rhapsodic piano aria, with scarcely detectable entrances and exits by the rhythm section. "Autumn's Colors" exchanges elegy for a mesmerizing beat, requiring Friedman to double the bass' pattern in his left hand while simultaneously coupling the guitarist's in his right.

The chimerical "Waltz for Marilyn" is no less kinetic for being understated. Bernstein's always fat-toned, non- processed guitar stamps some soul on the samba, "Vocé E Eu, then does the same for Wind's tongue-in- cheekish "Early Morning Blues," driven by the funkiest-sounding acoustic bass in recent memory. "Never Let Me Go" and Mancini's "Two for the Road" receive spirited interpretations, the latter a tad fast for its finely- tempered moving harmonies.

Friedman's extended, Flamenco-flavored "Delayed Gratification is well worth the wait, featuring show- stopping solos by all, including Jefferson, whose infrequent solos are as melodically-attuned as his ensemble work is musically-attentive.

The audio, from the natural sound of Wind's bass to the forward presence of all instruments in the democratic mix, is state of the art. It's doubtful that 2007, which has already seen some blockbusters, has produced a recording of new music more worthy of a listener's valuable time than this one.



See Victor Schermer's fascinating photo-journalistic account of the making of Waltz for Marilyn.


Track Listing: Theme for Gee Tee; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Summer's End; Autumn Colors; Waltz for Marilyn; Voc

Personnel: Don Friedman: piano; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Martin Wind: bass; Tony Jefferson: drums.

Title: Waltz for Marilyn | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jazz Excursion Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Just The Way We Are" CD/LP/Track Review Just The Way We Are
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "GIO Sevens" CD/LP/Track Review GIO Sevens
by Duncan Heining
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "Quiet Life" CD/LP/Track Review Quiet Life
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 5, 2017