David Friesen and Glen Moore

Bactrian

origin 82704

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys

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This is the third recorded collaboration of these musical giants known for their compositions, bass playing, and associations with each other and other major players and groups. They have toured the United States as a duo and have graced Europe with concerts, clinics, and workshops. Both bass players in a 2006 jazz poll were voted in the top twenty bass players of all time. In this recording, they both play bass (Friesen a Hemage and Moore an Acoustic) and both play piano. Compositions are by the two except Juan Tizol's "Caravan" and Gershwin'ss "Summertime." You are not likely to hear this on local jazz radio, and what a shame, as this music explores, weaves, and moves your thinking of how bass melody lines work and how the bass works beyond just rhythmic licks. "Still Waters" has a slight walk, little lifts as the bass lines talk to each other and lead you into this marvelous trip. They talk, cajole, accent, and always move the piece forward. "Free Play" is outside work with bowed low-end bass by Moore as Friesen's piano darts in free, angular fashion, grunts low, pushes in some big full chords to release to modern ballad style as Moore starts aggressive picking; then the conversation is on in utter modern motif. "Hoe Down" has Friesen in the bass galloping suit, but not on your country bluegrass hit parade. They play a lot as the bass gets singing out while the other slaps percussively. Always moving, interesting, Friesen with just slight bass touches to accent, very cerebral, and melody lines that you can envision as vocals. Gorgeous even as they push the edge. Sloe, lovely, hesitating timing. In Tizol's "Caravan," one bass establishes the well-known rhythmic pattern, then the other rides melody and you are on a unique movement as these bassists journey inside the body of this classic work. Your head will be opened up to the bass in new ways here. "Return" has Moore on piano in this lyrical modern ballad, just touching the angular and building the lines a bit outside, as Friesen rhythmically pulses and beats his way before single note accents the Moore piano lonely links. The justly titled "Seam Line" shows the well-honed intricacy of both bass players working the rhythmic punch and the walking undertow. This is a total interchange and must for every bass player to wrap his head around. Friesen shows the high level of his piano work "Time and Time Again/Brilliant Heart," ala things I heard in the mid 60's at Bach Dynamite in Northern California with the work of Mike Nock. Also s lot of Bill Evans mood. You will gain a much higher respect for Friesen's piano, ballad understanding, ability to work not only the rhythm but the creative modern lines. Angular here is like an absolute fit. One of my favorite Friesen piano excursions ever. Moore goes solo bass on "Summertime," boldly walking in slow with extends, build boldness, and holds you to the string and the melody in totally uncompromising fashion. "Kontrast" has Moore exploring, darting, dashing on piano, exchanging with Friesen's rapid challenges, building his own piano bass accents and thrusts. This is an almost ten-minute collaboration where all the stops are pulled out, and yet their incredible fifty years of playing together do them great stead. A modern journey that all players and listeners should be taken on. The two bassists collaborate on the title cut by Moore, "The Bactrain" (a two-humped camel native to the steppes of Central Asia.) They almost plod on the low end, punctuating a theme, and then one begins to work a melody over the rhythmic pulse. Again, this explore for over eight minutes the complexity and understanding of these two remarkable bass players They talk in unison, in counterpoint, melody over beat, bowed sonority. This song is definitely a slow camel training journey of each player's musical knowledge and long collaboration. Remarkable journey and an absolutely superb rending of their art. The recording is incredibly clean and clear, and was recorded in Germany. The CD is packaged in a four-panel with jewel box on the right inside, and on the left a pocket to hold the liner notes. Friesen's paintings are on the cover, the note insert, and the CD. The 8-page liner note insert has two full-page, incredible solo photos of these musicians playing. The liner notes are by friend, photographer, and writer about musicians since the 1970s, Patrick Hinely. Tunes and time list are on the insert and the back panel of the CD cover. No tune or time list, unfortunately, on the CD. Back binding names, title, and number are clear for easy shelf retrieval. A major addition to the Origin Jazz Label.






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