Hot House

Don Friedman

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Hot House Review

by Ken Dryden

During his long career, Don Friedman has recorded many memorable dates as a leader, though the veteran pianist remains a talent worthy of greater recognition. With seasoned bassist Ron McClure, drummer Tony Jefferson, and tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost, Friedman's adventurous set shows the obvious influence of Bill Evans while also exploring a wide range of material. His harmonically advanced arrangement of "My Funny Valentine" features Armacost on soprano sax. He puts a fresh stamp on "You Go to My Head" in a sparkling duet with McClure. Friedman's lush solo interpretation of "But Beautiful" is also not to be missed. The driving performance of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" finds the pianist initially taking a backseat to Armacost's blazing tenor before he and McClure make their individual statements with authority. Mal Waldron's well-known "Soul Eyes" is a marvelous duet matching McClure's warm arco bass with Friedman's lush chords. The leader also brought a trio of originals to the sessions, including the upbeat "35 West 4th Street," the frenetic "Blues in a Hurry," and "Waltz for Marilyn," the latter played unaccompanied.

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