Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The release of this album recorded live in Auckland in late 2015 could not be more timely because American bassist Friesen is about to tour again (dates below) with guitarist Dixon Nacey and drummer Reuben Bradley who are on hand here.
Friesen is a Major Player in the US jazz scene, has a list of album credits under his own name as long as your outstretched arms, and has played on sessions with Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Garrett, Paul Horn, Mal Waldron, Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson . . .
At 75, he has played with key jazz musicians across about five decades of different style, but on this date with musicians half his age he certainly doesn't sound like he is coasting into an easy retirement.
And both Bradley and Nacey ensure that he couldn't because this is very much a trio of equals.
Start with the hypnotic Basic Strategy which is a truly haunting piece of almost eight minutes which starts very seductively with a simple guitar line by Nacey behind which Bradley lays out brisk tempo and Friesen hits a repeated figure which takes over to lay down a menacing and almost funky stake in the ground. And then, through solo passages and changing dynamics it swells and retreats, leans left as Nacey and Friesen play off each other in buzzing rock-like repetition, slinks down low with a Friesen solo which descends into being almost inaudible then everything comes back into the foreground with Bradley's vigorous control in his solo.
It is an absolute and compelling highlight in a set which delivers them aplenty.
There is a brisk bounce in the step of the opener Blue 10, elsewhere this breathes a breezy warmth (the fluid Sailing) but also astringency (the closing overs of the 10 minute Tribute when Nacey's guitar veers into abrasive prog-rock territory) and a slinking, bluesy exoticism (Counterpart).
This is jazz of shifting moods which only the most accomplished and intuitive of players can pull off, as they do consistently across this 70 minute set of Friesen original compositions.
Certainly a superb and convincing calling card for the forthcoming tour . . . and a further reminder that Friesen wouldn't play with these local musicians if they weren't world class.
But we knew they were already, right?
DAVID FRESEN TRIO TOUR AND WORKSHOPS
16th October: Workshop at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Rotorua, Performance at The Rogue Stage, Princess Gate Hotel 8pm
17th October: Workshop at Wintec Hamilton, Performance at Nivara Lounge 8pm
18th October: Auckland Jazz Festival 2017 for the Creative Jazz Club, The Thirsty Dog Tavern 8pm
19th October: Workshop at Auckland University
20th October: Workshop & Performance in Wellington for the Wellington Jazz Collective, The Pyramid Club 8pm
21st October: Workshop in Christchurch for the Big Band Festival 2017, Performance at Orange Studio 8pm