Waltz For Debby

ARTIST: Don Freidman Trio
Don Friedman (piano)
George Mraz (bass)
Lewis Nash (drums)

Recorded at Avatar Studio, New York on May 28, 2002
Produced by Yasohachi “88” Itoh
Assistant Producer : Kyoko Aikawa
Recording Engineer : David Baker
Assistant Engineers : Peter Doris, Ricardo Fernandez and Hiro Komuro
Mastering Engineer : Koji “C-chan” Suzuki / Sony Music Studios Tokyo
Coordinators : Kiyoko Murata and Akira Tanaka / Sound Wing Limited

Don Friedman has been known for a long time as a musician's musician, praised for his lyrical style and his technical virtuosity. Here on Waltz For Debby he teams with bassist George Mraz and drummer Lewis Nash, to explore the beauty of music. The album is a mixture of his sassy, well-conceived originals and standards.

Friedman's original tunes have the quality of standards and great episodes too. "35 W. 4th Street" is titled after the address of New York University where he teaches piano techniques, improvisation & jazz theory. One day his students did not show up, so he sat in front of the piano and fingered some chords - which gave him an idea for this tune. "Blues in a Hurry" was composed for this very album, with the title having a double meaning. While listing the tunes he wanted to record on this album, Friedman thought blues or fast tunes would make the list complete. So he forced himself to
compose a new tune, just some days before the date. "Flamands" is a name of a beach of St. Barth's, French West Indies. Friedman has visited this beautiful beach on his vacation, and was inspired. "From A to Z" is dedicated to his friend and a wonderful Hungarian guitarist, Attila Zolla (1927 – 1998). They collaborated in the 60's when they were active in the West Coast scene.


  1. 35 W. 4th St.
    This is a Don Friedman original composition. The title comes from the street address of New York University, where Friedman taught jazz in the 60's. Once, a student failed to show up for an appointment and Friedman filled the time by writing this song. The melody leaves a lasting impression. The performance is very up-tempo.
  2. I Concentrate on You
    Cole Porter wrote this song and lyrics for the movie, Broadway Melody of 1940. Since then, Frank Sinatra and other singers & musicians have regularly performed this standard tune. The song features a thrilling bass solo and a drum solo rounding out a well-coordinated trio performance. In 1993, Friedman recorded this song solo on the piano on his album, Don Friedman at Maybeck released on Concord Jazz.
  3. Waltz for Debby
    Bill Evans wrote this waltz for the daughter of his brother, named Debby. It was first recorded on Evans' album New Jazz Conceptions (1956). The song became a classic when The Evans Trio performed it at the Village Vanguard in 1961 for a live album of the same title. Friedman's good friend, Scott LaFaro (bass) also participated in the recording. Because of the popularity of the song, fellow pianist Oscar Peterson recorded the song many times as well. In this version, Friedman uses the same approach as the Bill Evans Trio - start slow, change to swing, and feature a bass solo. Despite some of the similarities, Friedman uses a faster tempo and a stronger touch on the piano.
  4. Bud Powell
    Chick Corea wrote this song as a tribute to Bud Powell. It was first recorded by Chick and Gary Burton in 1979 on Chick Corea and Gary Burton in Concert released by ECM. Later, Chick Corea recorded it again in the
    Bud Powell tribute album. This version is a little boppish, a different take that makes it interesting.
  5. You Must Believe in Spring
    Michel Legrand wrote many memorable songs for the screen including "The Summer Knows," "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," and many others. This track, also written by Legrand, was for the 1966 movie The Young Girls of Rochefort starring Catherine Deneuve. Bill Evans performed it with Tony Bennett on their duet album Together Again (1976) as well as his own album under the same title (1977).
  6. Blues in a Hurry
    An exciting, up-tempo performance is heard here. The transition from the quiet to the active is quite dramatic. This is a new composition by Friedman written for this album. Just before the recording session, Friedman noticed there were no blues or a fast tempo song for the album. He decided to combine the two and wrote this song, thus the title.
  7. The Shadow of Your Smile
    This is the Academy award nominated title song written by Johnny Mandel for the movie The Sandpiper starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Friedman recorded this track on his album Love Music released by Progressive in 1978. In this performance, the melody is not played straight but rather in an interesting rhythmic variant.
  8. Flamands
    This track is a Friedman composition that was originally recorded on his album Almost Everything (1995) released by Steeplechase. The title comes from the name of a beach on the island of St. Barts in the West Indies. St. Barts is a well-known resort frequented by Americans to escape the winter. Friedman visited this island on vacation and his impressions of it became this song. It has a strong Caribbean mood and a memorable rhythm pattern to it.
  9. From A to Z
    This track was written by Friedman as a tribute to Hungarian-born guitarist, Attila Zoller, who passed away in 1998. In the 60's, Friedman and Zoller were bandmates in Herbie Mann's group. They also played on each other's albums. The song is about the loss of a good friend. At somewhat of a fast tempo, you can still sense the sadness in the melody.
  10. Old Folks
    The last track features a solo piano performance. The familiar standard was first sung by Mildred Bailey in the 30's. Friedman plays it effortlessly and elegantly. With each note, you can hear Don Friedman's distinct style, unique & different from Bud Powell or Bill Evans.

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