In the 70s, there weren’t that many double bass players that could rivet an audience to their seat with a solo performance. Tacoma-born David Friesen was one of them. His solo playing at the Monterey remains one of the highlights of the 1977 edition of the festival.

That same year, he published a superb album, entitled “Waterfall Rainbow” in which his talent as a soloist is showcased, in the aptly-titled French Festival song.

 

Right after this masterpiece, the title song of the record features Latin rhythms by drummer Bobby Moses and percussionist Jim Saporito. Friesen picks up the violin bow and executes a duo with clarinet player Paul McCandless. Castles & Flags is somehow closer to classical music than jazz. Sounds like the two musicians tried to re-invent baroque classical music, in a modern jazz way.

Jazz star Ralph Towner plays classical and 12-string guitars (and leads the beautiful Song of Switzerland) while a young imaginative John Stowell is on electric guitar and Nick Brignola on flute. The album was produced by Friesen and all nine songs are his own compositions. The recording sessions were led by engineer Fred Miller at Downtown Sound in New York City during the (infamous) summer of 1977.

 

This album showcases a talented jazz musician that didn’t reach the public recognition he should have yet (bassists rarely get much if the spotlight), but still achieved a great career, playing with such legends as Paul Horn (In August of 1983, Friesen accompanied Paul Horn on a historic 4 week, 18 concert tour of the Soviet Union), Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Bud Shank, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddy Hubbard, Clark Terry, Mal Waldron, Chick Corea, Milt Jackson, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, just to name a few.

In his online biography, it is stated that as a young man, Friesen took advantage of his military service to gain some jazz experience abroad: “At 19, while stationed with the U.S. Army in Paris, he sat in with George Arvanitas, Johnny Griffin and Art Taylor. Then, in Copenhagen, he gigged with drummer Dick Berk and met Ted Curson in 1961. Back in the U.S., he became committed to the bass in 1964 and settled in Seattle.”

I found this vinyl at Human Head record store, in Brooklyn, forty years after it came out, approximately at a 20-minute drive from where it was recorded.

friesen jazz

DAVID FRIESEN
Waterfall Rainbow
(Inner City Records, 1977)

-Genre: jazz
-In the same mood as Rob Wasserman

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.