Don Friedman (p), Chuck Israels (b), Joe Hunt, Pete La Roca (d)
Reference: FSRCD 760
Bar code: 8427328607605
After an early period as a sideman in Los Angeles, in early 1960 Don Friedman moved to NYC, where he soon revealed himself as a pianist of extraordinary originality, and a thoroughly schooled musician of modern compositional persuasion. Ample proof of this is on Friedmans first two albums for Riverside A Day in the City and Circle Waltz where his playing has a similarly generous and lyric charm as Bill Evans, albeit with a more angular, fragmented style than Evans limpid, flowing one.
A Day in the City is an altogether brilliant achievement in both conception and execution. The music is descriptive and evocative of the varying moods of city life suggested by the six subsidiary titles, each of them characterized by a specific rhythm feeling.
Circle Waltz reinforced the impression of him as a composer and improviser of impeccable taste, warmth, and quiet, controlled power. And though he can swing hard, as in Seas Breeze, his most successfully personal mood is in the more lyrical vein of Loves Parting.
Noteworthy, too, is the valuable work of his sidemen; Chuck Israels is a strong guiding force in the rhythm section, and Joe Hunt or Pete La Roca contribute consistently to the undoubted success of both albums.
01. Dawn 6:03
02. Midday 5:46
03. Rush Hour 6:46
04. Sunset 5:46
05. Early Evening 4:10
06. Night 7:59
07. Circle Waltz 5:57
08. Seas Breeze 6:03
09. I Hear a Rhapsody 7:29
10. In Your Own Sweet Way 5:17
11. Loves Parting 5:41
12. So In Love 3:23
13. Modes Pivoting 6:42
All compositions by Don Friedman, except #9 by Fragos-Baker, #10 by Dave Brubeck & #12 by Cole Porter
Tracks #1-6, from the album "A Day in the City - Six Jazz Variations on a Theme" (Riverside RLP-9384)
Tracks #7-13, from the album "Circle Waltz" (Riverside RLP-9431)
Personnel on "A Day in the City":
Don Friedman, piano; Chuck Israels, bass; Joe Hunt, drums.
Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York City, on June 12, 1961
Personnel on "Circle Waltz":
Same personnel as above, but Pete La Roca, drums, replaces Joe Hunt.
Track #12 unaccompanied piano solo
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, on May 14, 1962
Original recordings produced by Orrin Keepnews
Sound Engineers: Bill Stoddard (#1-6), and Ray Fowler (#7-13)
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Notes on "A Day in the City":
"For his debut as a leader, pianist Don Friedman (in a trio with bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Joe Hunt) performed six variations on a theme taken from an old folk song, "The Minstrel Boy." Called "Dawn," "Midday," "Rush Hour," "Sunset," "Early Evening," and "Night," these six jazz variations on a theme are often quite abstract and not as picturesque as one would think considering their titles. However, Friedman's playing (which shows the strong influence of modern classical music, particularly in its chords) rewards repeated listenings."
Notes on "Circle Waltz":
"Even ignoring that bassist Chuck Israels is on this set and the similarity of some of the repertoire, it is difficult to overlook the fact that pianist Don Friedman sounds very similar to Bill Evans on this CD reissue. With drummer Pete LaRoca completing the trio and such songs as "I Hear a Rhapsody," "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "So In Love" joining four of the leader's originals, Friedman uses chord voicings similar to Evans and engages in the same type of close interplay with his sidemen. However, since the music is of high quality and few other keyboardists sounded like Evans this early, the CD is worth picking up by post-bop collectors."
Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide