137

Fred Fried: When Winter Comes

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Fried: When Winter Comes The use of “classically” arranged string sections within jazz compositions has been relatively commonplace since Charlie Parker’s breakthrough 1949 recording With Strings, more seminal due to its unbridled success than the singularity of the concept. Thus, Fred Fried’s latest release, When Winter Comes , which unites his trio with a string ensemble arranged by Richard DeRosa, is not a particularly outlandish endeavor. However this is far from its intent, and what is unusual is the level of synthesis attained between the album’s “classical” and “jazz” elements.

This does not mean Fried has abandoned the jazz idiom, or the classical for that matter. Nor has he realized some epiphany of Third Stream construction. The trio swings and jazz styled improvisation remains prominently identifiable, along with a plethora of other idiomatic devices common to the jazz milieu. Significantly, however, the same holds true of DeRosa’s string arrangement, which blends impressionistic and romantic coloring to emphasize the balance and depth of Fried’s compositions.

Moreover, and most importantly, the interplay between the trio and string section sounds smooth, without cramping the trio’s capacity for improvisation and more traditional group interaction. Full integration has always presented the fundamental obstacle to such cross-pollination experiments, but when overcome, the efforts produce intriguing, and often unexpected, results. Particularly when the compositions, arrangements, and instrumental skill of all involved are as proven as these musicians.

Tracks like the opening “When Winter Comes,” the gorgeous “Children Can Fly,” and the solemn “Hold Your Breath” strike the often treacherous balance between romanticism and sobriety, drifting neither toward the saccharine nor the melodramatic. Questions of technique and specific musical bravura appropriately evaporate when approaching material like this, subsumed by the conceptual clarity and emotive strength of the material.

That said, it is evident that Fried has dramatic command over his 7-string guitar, and that a keen rapport has developed between his trio mates, Steve LaSpina (bass), and Billy Drummond (drums). This becomes particularly evident on the three tracks performed sans strings, an important contribution to the album’s overall tone and rhythm. On all occasions, the trio plays well together, and the key to Fried’s work seems to be a combination of sensitive interpretation, a willingness to play slowly, deeply, and to use space and silence as expressive elements.

Clearly, Fried operates in the same realm as Bill Evans, his self-proclaimed early influence. He has achieved, with DeRosa’s orchestral support, a pristine and highly articulate work of acute feeling.


Track Listing: 1. When Winter Comes 2. Patty's Song 3. Into The Wind 4. Hold Your Breath 5. Let's Go For A Ride 6. Pathos 7. The Rain 8. Children Can Fly 9. The Things That Happen

Personnel: Fred Fried: 7-String Guitar; Stave LaSpinna: Bass; Billy Drummond: Drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Ballet Tree | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Shades of Rio" CD/LP/Track Review Shades of Rio
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 23, 2016
Read "Forest Grove" CD/LP/Track Review Forest Grove
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Spin Cycle" CD/LP/Track Review Spin Cycle
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "The Long Slog" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Slog
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!