Don Friedman

Almost Everything

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Don Friedman may be one of the best-kept secrets in jazz, in spite of a lengthy career and numerous recordings as a leader. Bassist Ron McClure and drummer Matt Wilson join him for one of his finest studio sessions, made in 1995 for Steeplechase. His four original compositions, particularly the intense "Waltz for Marilyn," find the trio at its creative peak with lots of terrific interplay. His bandmates also brought along their contributions. Wilson's mysterious "Twigs and Branches" is an impressionistic piece that segues from a gentle breeze into a full-fledged storm. McClure's "El Niño" does not produce the expected hurricane but instead a gentle, bittersweet bossa nova. All three standards tackled by the trio are familiar fare for jazz musicians, though they give each of them a personal touch, especially the brisk, offbeat arrangement of "Emily." Highly recommended.

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