Erik Friedlander: cello; Shoko Nagai: piano, accordion, electronics; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion.
Erik Friedlander is a multifaceted cellist and composer based in New York City who is not afraid of setting foot on different styles and moods. With last year’s “Oscalypso”, recorded with a sturdy quartet (Michael Blake, Trevor Dunn, and Michael Sarin), he made an incursion on pure bop territory with reinterpretations of nine emblematic compositions from the bassist Oscar Pettiford, a confessed influence. “Rings”, in turn, marks a welcoming return to a much more appealing creative freedom, mixing the incantations of the world music, the gallant tones of the modern classical, and the unexpectedness of the avant-garde jazz.
“The Seducer” is truly a seductive piece that sumptuously takes us to distant worlds through a fulfilling combination of weeping cello, conversational accordion, and the motivating percussion.
In the contemplative “Black Phebe” I can see a train of camels crossing the desert at the same tranquil pace this song moves. Provocatively playful, “A Single Eye” proves to be suitable for an animated movie. In turn, “Fracture” is an affectionate ballad that transpires sentiment, opposing to “Risky Business”, one of those festive tunes played at Oriental weddings.
There are a few atmospherically calm tunes that touch the abstract, and one of them, “Canoe”, gets eerie outlines with the addition of electronics. One is able to sing “Small Things”, a cantabile pop tune driven by Friedlander’s plucking cello and filled with Nagai’s melodious accordion. Great is the levitating aura of “Flycatcher”, which features a great cello work by Friedlander peppered by Takeishi’s contagious rhythms, and the rapturous sounds of Nagai, who stands out with a terrific unaccompanied piano solo.
01 – The Seducer ► 02 – Black Phebe ► 11 – Flycatcher