David Friesen with Orchestra and Quartet

Testimony

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Mattie Poels, Music Frames (Holland)

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In a beautiful concert we hear jazz bassist and pianist David Friesen from the Ukraine together with his quartet and the National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine.

On the album Testimony we hear two concerts that were both recorded in the Ukraine (Kiev) where the bassist, pianist and arranger David Friesen comes from. Friesen is a master of themes: catchy melodies that sound familiar and worldly. His timing is reminiscent of that of the South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand). We find the same spontaneity and sincerity in his music, with here and there a big nod to the gospel. Especially in the works arranged for the National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine (NASB of Ukraine). As said, there are two concerts on Testimony. He gave one concert in the fall of 2019 with his quartet, consisting of Friesen on bass and piano, the vibraphonist Eugene Dobrovolskyi , drummer Alex Fantaev and saxophonist Mykole Ryshkov. The other concert was given in 2018, together with the NASB of Ukraine wind orchestra. The repertoire of both concerts is mixed on the album, so that you end up from one concert to the other per track and thus in a different atmosphere. Particularly beautiful are the pieces with the NASB of Ukraine, where the wind arrangement provides a wide, warm sound with gospel influences as can be heard in Still Waters and Another Time, Another Place or the beautiful waltz. My Faith, My Life. David Friesen has a nice lazy timing, both in his bass and piano playing. A way of soloing in which he takes the time and rest to choose his notes and to take the listener along in beautiful musical sentences. David Friesen plays on a Hemage bass (developed by Hermann Erlacher from Austria). An electric double bass (without sound box) that is amplified with an element. This makes its tone color clear and transparent as in Make believe. Also special is the piece New Ballad. A lively duo composition in which we hear Friesen on piano and Dobrovolskyi on vibraphone. The final piece Lament for the lost / Procession is a dynamic work, where everything seems to come together. Ambient sounds, with an ostinato pattern played on the vibraphone, laced with impressive horns, bass solo, and flute. David Friesen in a nutshell: recognizable, yet slightly different. Feast!








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