"Once in a great while, a musician emerges with such authority and such seemingly effortless originality that his place in the front ranks of his instrument is unquestioned. So it is with David Friesen."
A major international jazz figure for over 50 years, bassist-composer David Friesen continues his unflagging process of creating new defining works, with the ambitious, expansive, and deeply personal musical explorations found on Testimony. Through the desire to better understand his Mother's Ukrainian heritage, and with inspired leg-work from his Czech-based assistant, Natalie Digtyar, Friesen found himself on a 2015 tour of family landmarks in Smila, Ukraine, fully researched and led by a television crew and the local historical museum. Meeting Oleksandr Pirozhenko, director of the National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine, set in motion the collaboration heard here, beginning with a sold-out 2016 "homecoming" concert in Smila's Concert Hall, followed by this live recording from Kiev's National Philharmonic Hall in December, 2018. Arrangements of Friesen's profoundly spiritual compositions unfold, offering passages exploding with orchestral grandeur alongside lone whispers from solo piano, vibes or bass, and intimate quartet vignettes, all reflecting the myriad emotions exposed through his journey of ancestral discovery.
1. Prelude 1:44
2. Still Waters 4:06
3. Meaningful 6:55
4. Distant Shores 5:29
5. Tribute 2:38
6. Sequence 5:01
7. Another Time, Another Place 4:08
8. Time Never Ends 4:37
9. Deep South Blues 3:54
10. My Faith, My Life 4:02
11. Make Believe 2:38
12. New Ballad 3:09
13. Sailing 2:55
14. Going Forth 4:42
15. Pumpkin 3:51
16. New Hope 3:42
17. Lament for the Lost/Procession 5:52
David Friesen - Hemage Bass, Grand Piano
Alex Fantaev - Drums, Percussion
Eugene Dobrovolskyi - Vibraphone
National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine
Conductor: Oleksii Vikulov
Director: Oleksandr Pirozhenko
David Friesen - hemage bass, piano, percussion
Eugene Dobrovolskyi - vibraphone
Mykola Ryshkov - tenor saxophone
Alex Fantaev - drums, percussion
Produced by David Friesen
Executive Producer: David Friesen
Liner notes by: William Minor
All paintings by David Friesen
Photographs by David Friesen
Cover Design & Layout by John Bishop
All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan)
4 1/2 STARS Most artists, in most fields, move into their eighth decade on an artistic decline, their best days behind them. But not so for the Portland, Oregon-based musician David Freisen. The bassist/pianist/composer hooked up with Seattle's Origin Records in 2014 with the release of Where the Light Falls. Five more sets arrived in short order, ...
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Like a European jazzbo that just burnishes deeper with age, Friesen tucks 50 years of bass acery under his belt and heads off to Ukraine to visit his ancestor's stomping ground. Of course, along the way, he hooks up with some Ukraine musos and delivers the kind of state of the art performance that defies almost everything. A highly creative instr ...
Jazz Podium (Germany) (Michael Schaust)
In search of sources, of his ancestors in the Ukraine, multi-instrumentalist David Friesen has hit fertile ground. The US-American (78) comes together with local musicians, his wish to better understand his mother's heritage comes true. And the result is truly worth listening to. It begins with a tour in 2015, "homecoming concerts" follow in 2016, ...