Dave Frishberg is multi-talented. His jazz credentials include being accompanist for Carmen McRae (that says something!) and house pianist at New York's Half Note where he played with Al, Zoot and so many other jazz masters. He is an incisive humorist/lyricist with a flair for improbable rhymes. His hip compositions match his words. Others may perform them but there is no substitute for a live performance by Frishberg himself.
This CD presents the wry wit, wordplay, and fine piano of Dave Frishberg at Jazz at Lincoln Center on a December night in 2002. All the lyrics, and all but three compositions, are his. He salutes Juilliard by playing a "Swinging the Classics Medley", pays tribute to Manhattan with the sentimental yet humorous title track, and gives jaundiced recognition to the time of year with his "The Difficult Season." "Jaws" is a fantasy about his involvement in movie music. Johnny Mandel's "Little Did I Dream" is a swinging love song. Frishberg speaks to his children through Alan Broadbent's "Heart's Desire," reminding them "Your heart may break. That's the risk that dreams require."
"Eastwood Lane " deserves special attention. The title and music were brought to Frishberg by trombonist Dan Barrett who based the tune on an excerpt from "Adirondack Sketches,"a piano piece composed by Mr. Lane in the early 1900s. Frishberg's lyrics convert Eastwood Lane from person to place - a Brigadoon of sorts. He follows that song of bittersweet nostalgia with a hilarious parody a la "Van Lingle Mungo."
"Quality Time" takes a look at a two-career couple in today's stressful environment through a phone call. "We're up to our ears in our own careers and putting our hearts on hold." Here humor meets truth.
And then there's Frishberg's "My Country Used to Be." You'll know the tune. Some may consider it a protest song. I find it to be a blend of love and disappointment as he concludes, "I hope my children live to see a land like my country used to be."