For his latest album 'My Faith, My Life,' the American bassist David Friesen takes the big picture. It is a solo suite divided over two CDs. On the first disc he plays bass, on the second piano.
After more than four decades of being active and with an extensive discography to his name (about eighty recordings as sideman or under his own name), David Friesen thought it was time to look back. He himself describes 'My Faith, My Life' as an instrumental autobiographical work with which he also wants to emphasize that his form of faith gave him the necessary strength and inspiration all those years. Fortunately, this does not result in a new age compendium but in a lively anthology.
Friesen explores a number of older compositions that had already appeared on previous albums and on which big names such as Steve Gadd, Chick Corea and Joe Henderson were working. Here he does it all again but then on his own.
There are thirteen songs on the first CD. Friesen life-force, as it were, his custom made Hemage Bass connected to equally exclusive loudspeakers and amplifiers. He glides with his fingers over the strings, picks it once to create a drone effect and occasionally uses a bow to create a cello sound. Yet this is not a free flow of some thin spielereien. He regularly creates a groove or charges a more rhythmic passage. There is always a melodic line, sometimes very vague, at times quite a bit more explicit. A predominantly lyrical and intimate sound game that slips past in slow motion like the morning dew on Lake Inle in Myanmar. Friesen also plays Japanese flute (shakuhatchi) a few times and uses small effects.
On the second disc, Friesen takes place behind the piano, a Ravenscroft Grand. The approach remains the same. Again he chose his own compositions, which he translates as a true poet. An aesthetic of melodic minimalism with an almost transcendental appearance. Here, too, there are no extreme patterns of rhythm, the dynamics remain within a specific framework. He concludes with the title piece in the form of a creed. Especially recommended for who likes Ran Blake style. The fact that Friesen went a while with Mal Waldron (and also recorded a record) can be clearly heard here and there.
'My Faith, My Life' is not a succession of technical delights in which you lose every grip as a listener. It is more a meditative listening game with a graceful undertone without claustrophobic or analytical mechanisms.