David Friesen with Orchestra and Quartet

Testimony

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Michael Schaust, Jazz Podium (Germany)

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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, and finally culminate in the live recording now available with the National Academic Symphony Band of Ukraine in Kiev (December 2018). Also integrated are quartet recordings (October 2019). Vibraphonist Eugene Dobrovolskyi and percussionist Alex Fantaev are featured in all recordings. Tenor saxophonist Mykola Ryshkov completes the band of four. A unity. Already the beginning with the entertaining swinging "Prelude" becomes a listening pleasure deluxe. A not exactly definable spirituality sets in, which pervades the entire work. Already the second piece becomes a highlight among many highlights. "Still Waters" moves in hymnal spheres. A Hemage bass provides the unique "Frisian sound", sharp and played with less timbre. The orchestra frames the calm waters with majestic exclusivity. Of a remarkable lightness "Pumpkin", in quartet. The final number starts a bit unwieldy, the tones testify to oblique-beautiful melancholy, but the vibraphone tightens the reins, the large body of sound slowly gets going, cheerful-organic togetherness emerges, to finally fall back into the slightly atonal. And the repeat button wants to be pressed. Friesen's music can be addictive!








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