Don Friedman was born on May 4, 1935 in San Francisco. Under the guidance
of his parents who loved classical music, Friedman started playing the piano
when he was five years old. The Friedman family moved to the San Fernando
Valley when Don was 15. The first time he heard jazz was when he was 17 or
18. It was at the Hollywood Palladium where he heard big bands featuring Les
Brown, Stan Kenton, and Billy May. Friedman started listening to performances
by Lee Konitz, Conte Candoli, and Frank Rosolino of the Kenton band. This
was West Coast jazz at its peak. Friedman moved to New York in the late 50's,
but it can be arguably said that he is heavily influenced by West Coast jazz
because he grew up on it.
Don Friedman's first albums included A Day in the City (1961) and Circle Waltz (1962) on Riverside. These earlier works had a similar feel to Bill Evans' playing and Friedman became associated with Evans because of it. There is definitely an element of Evans in Friedman's playing. However, Friedman's origins are in West Coast jazz.
On Waltz For Debby, Friedman performs many of the songs associated with Evans, such as "Waltz for Debby" and "You Must Believe in Spring." However, one can hear a different style that Friedman is capable of from performances of his own blues and a Chick Corea song contained in this album. This versatility creates the complete & true Friedman style.
On My Favortie Things, Friedman is again with George Mraz and Lewis Nash, the same personnel teamed for Waltz for Debby. Friedman spreads his wings of imagination freely. His lyrical but aggressive play intoxicates the listeners. On every tune, the trio delivers the beautiful melody line with a creative interplay.
On October 14, 2003, Don Friedman met for the first time with bass player John Patitucci and drummer Omar Hakim to record Timeless. It was only one day after recording My Favorite Things. The idea to have the three play together came from producer Yasohachi “88” Itoh. It was modeled after the historic combination of multigenerational players that resulted in The Great Jazz Trio. The magic of letting three great musicians loose to playfully collaborate and make fresh interpretation of well-known standards is captured.
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