pizzicato playing--higher and more incisive than the bass, warmer than the piano, but
similarly rhythmic and able to freely engage in the give-and-take that is so essential
to the jazz. "While there have been a few groundbreaking practitioners, notably
bassist Oscar Pettiford, the cello has a tenuous connection to jazz, and is still
considered a novelty," explains Friedlander. "The cello is an untapped resource and
I'm looking to create some new lasting traditions."
The music on The Broken Arm is soulful and grooving, part reminiscence and part
tribute. The tunes are playful, and the performances exuberant. Friedlander has made a
personal statement that is, simply, a whole lot of fun to listen to.
The title of the CD comes from an anecdote about Oscar Pettiford: In 1949,
Pettiford broke his arm playing baseball. He could still move his fingers even though
his arm was in a sling, so he began experimenting with a cello a friend had lent to
him. He tuned the cello like a bass only an octave higher and later recorded a series
of cello-led projects. "For me Pettiford is a hero: he had a deep connection to the
cello--he believed in it as a jazz instrument," says Friedlander.
Friedlander grew up listening to 1950 and 60's jazz. His father, renowned
photographer Lee Friedlander, is a huge jazz fan and played the music of Charlie
Parker, Lester Young, Count Basie, and Sonny Rollins, loudly at home and on long
family trips. It was natural for Erik, then, to train in jazz performance traditions
while in his late teens and twenties, and later choose to immerse himself in New
York's Downtown scene in groups that were creating a more modern jazz tradition,
working with artists such Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano and John Zorn.
Friedlander has not only backed John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Courtney Love, and The
Mountain Goats, he has also recorded 9 CDs as a leader. Whether playing solo or with
one of his bands, Friedlander pushes the limits of what the cello can do, while
maintaining a firm grasp on its traditions. Pitchfork Media said, "Erik Friedlander
can do things with a cello that should have a reasonable listener fearing for her life."
Joining Erik on The Broken Arm are drummer Mike Sarin and bassist Trevor Dunn, both
first-call players on the New York scene. Trevor is a co-founder of the avant-rock
band Mr. Bungle, plays with Electric Masada, and leads his own jazz-inspired
Trio-Convulsant. Mike is one of the most inventive drummers on the scene, making his
name first with the Thomas Chapin Trio and then with Ben Allison, David Krakauer Myra
Melford, Drew Gress and many others.
The Broken Arm will drop on Oct. 21. For additional information, visit www.erikfriedlander.com/press.htm
"Broken Arm" Track listing:
1. Spinning Plates
3. Knife Points
4. Jim Zipper
5. Pretty Penny
9. Hop Skip
11. Big Shoes
12. In The Spirit