June 21, 2024


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CD review: David Friesen With Orchestra And Quartet – Testimony 2020: Video, CD cover

“Once in a great while, a musician emerges with such authority and such seemingly effortless originality that his place in the front ranks of his instrument is unquestioned. So it is with David Friesen.” Nat Hentoff

A major international jazz figure for over 50 years, bassist-composer David Friesen continues his unflagging process of creating new defining works, with the ambitious, expansive, and deeply personal musical explorations found on Testimony. Through the desire to better understand his Mother’s Ukrainian heritage, and with inspired leg-work from his Czech-based assistant, Natalie Digtyar, Friesen found himself on a 2015 tour of family landmarks in Smila, Ukraine, fully researched and led by a television crew and the local historical museum. Meeting Oleksandr Pirozhenko, director of the National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine, set in motion the collaboration heard here, beginning with a sold-out 2016 “homecoming” concert in Smila’s Concert Hall, followed by this live recording from Kiev’s National Philharmonic Hall in December, 2018. Arrangements of Friesen’s profoundly spiritual compositions unfold, offering passages exploding with orchestral grandeur alongside lone whispers from solo piano, vibes or bass, and intimate quartet vignettes, all reflecting the myriad emotions exposed through his journey of ancestral discovery.

1. Prelude 1:44
2. Still Waters 4:06
3. Meaningful 6:55
4. Distant Shores 5:29
5. Tribute 2:38
6. Sequence 5:01
7. Another Time, Another Place 4:08
8. Time Never Ends 4:37
9. Deep South Blues 3:54
10. My Faith, My Life 4:02
11. Make Believe 2:38
12. New Ballad 3:09
13. Sailing 2:55
14. Going Forth 4:42
15. Pumpkin 3:51
16. New Hope 3:42
17. Lament for the Lost/Procession 5:52


David Friesen – Hemage Bass, Grand Piano
Alex Fantaev – Drums, Percussion
Eugene Dobrovolskyi – Vibraphone
National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine
Conductor: Oleksii Vikulov
Director: Oleksandr Pirozhenko

David Friesen – hemage bass, piano, percussion
Eugene Dobrovolskyi – vibraphone
Mykola Ryshkov – tenor saxophone
Alex Fantaev – drums, percussion

Origin Records Review - David Friesen with Orchestra and Quartet - Testimony

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