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 Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Soul Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Soul Tree
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "No White Shoes" CD/LP/Track Review No White Shoes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Start to Move" CD/LP/Track Review Start to Move
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Blues and Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Ballads
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "Fellow Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Fellow Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!