Carrying the Avant-Jazz Torch

The California Chronicle provides a brief interview of Erik Friedlander.

In its heyday, the adventurous downtown scene served as a stage for everything from free improvisation to high-decibel rock. Its leaders, saxophonist and composer John Zorn and, later on, trumpeter Dave Douglas, had a penchant for unconventional instrumentation (string ensembles, bird calls, and so on), and repertoire (Bjork‘s songs, and Balkan and Jewish music, among others). This vibrant music scene nurtured such other avant-jazz string players as violinists Jenny Scheinman, Carla Kihlstedt, Jeff Gauthier, and Laura Seaton, as well as cellist Mark Dresser and bassist Devin Hoff.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Broken Arm Trio – Self Tited
Broken Arm Trio is a mainly up-beat and very bassy sounding jazz trio featuring Cellist Erik Friedlander(solo & various John Zorn related projects) who also composed all the tracks here, Trevor Dunn( Mr Bungle, solo work & various Zorn related projects, etc) and Michael Sarin on Drums.

Ascanio Borga – Xenomorphic
Ascanio Borga cut his teeth playing guitar in noise rock bands, evidence of which rears its head fairly early into Xenomorphic, his new disk on the under-recognized Afe label. The (title) track starts off in an ambient neo-Eno vein and then splits off into a thumping one chord metal riff. It’s only metal in relation to the guitar tone actually. If the tone was different it could pass for a Krautrock motif because of the stuttering, repetitive rhythm. Borga augments the guitar pattern with other guitar noises, sometimes gratuitous soloing, tasteful percussion and a bevy of granulated background sounds. There also seems to be some bass, which sounds like the real deal, though it’s getting increasingly more difficult to tell these days, with the advent of digital music programming. Borga has a musical background, and the painterly quality of the aforementioned title track makes this very evident. He starts the piece with noise, subtly piling on each element, slowly building forward momentum, the caps it off with the same noisy background which began it.

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Erik Friedlander’s Broken Arm Trio at Barbes Reviewed

From the New York Times:

The cellist Erik Friedlander possesses a deep, singing tone on his instrument, and when he gives into it completely, he can be a heartbreaker. At the diminutive Brooklyn club Barbès, which he regards as a second home, his sound approaches room-size resonance, with little or no amplification, just about anytime he draws a bow across the strings.

But that was a rare and judicious indulgence in his hourlong set there on Friday night. Instead, as he does on “Broken Arm Trio” (SkipStone), his most recent album, Mr. Friedlander was playing original songs expressly designed for pizzicato. His bow was mostly unused as he plucked his way along the fingerboard. His right hand did the dexterous picking, with a spiderlike efficiency and speed.

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Jazz Listings From The New York Times

In the Times:

ERIK FRIEDLANDER’S BROKEN ARM TRIO (Friday) “Broken Arm Trio” (Skipstone), the most recent album by the cellist Erik Friedlander, trafficks in a boppish cadence suitable for nimble fingerpicking. Along with his trio partners — the bassist Trevor Dunn and the drummer Mike Sarin, both aboard here — Mr. Friedlander manages to create an effervescent small-group jazz, shot through with wit and soul. At 8 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth Street, at Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248,; cover, $10.20090326

HENRY GRIMES AND MARC RIBOT (Friday) Mr. Grimes, a bassist and long-lost titan of the avant-garde, has jibed well in the past with Mr. Ribot, a vagabond poet on the guitar — but most often in group settings. Here they pare down to a conversational exchange, which just might be the best way to expose their rapport. At 7 p.m., Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, Chelsea, (212) 620-5000,; $20. (Chinen)20090326

RHYTHM IN THE KITCHEN MUSIC FESTIVAL (Thursday) The fourth annual edition of this avant-garde festival, presented by the Hell’s Kitchen Cultural Center, kicks off with an exploratory trio led by the guitarist Amanda Monaco (at 8 p.m.); a set by the collective quartet known as Little Women (at 9); and a duet by the multireedist Joe McPhee and the guitarist Bern Nix, both prominent figures in the avant-garde (at 10). (Through April 4.) At Church for All Nations, 417 West 57th Street, Clinton, (212) 333-5583,; $15; $35 for a full festival pass. (Chinen)20090326

BRAD SHEPIK GROUP (Saturday) “Human Activity Suite” (Songlines), the absorbingly eclectic new album by the guitarist Brad Shepik, harnesses folk traditions from across the world to make a light-handed statement about global warming. Reconvening the album’s excellent cast here, he connects with Ralph Alessi on trumpet; Gary Versace on piano, organ and accordion; Drew Gress on bass; and Tom Rainey on drums. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum. (Chinen)20090326

CECIL TAYLOR SPEAKS VOLUMES (Saturday) At 80, Mr. Taylor is an elder statesman by any measure, and his music has continued to bedazzle, growing more luminous but no less rigorous in recent years. His solo recitals — whorls of inimitable pianism, notated as well as freely improvised — are legendary. For this one, part of the Musically Speaking series at Merkin Concert Hall, he will also engage in discourse about his music. (That’s the idea, anyway.) At 8 p.m. Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, Manhattan, (212) 501-3330,; $25; $20 for members. (Chinen)

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Broken Arm Trio Reviewed

Erik Friedlander‘s latest is reviewed.

It’s a quiet pluck and a kick, a twitter reminiscent of the Grecian zither-based music from The Third Man that introduces you to improvisational cellist Erik Friedlander’s newest effort. Usually a manic, wiry bower with the likes of John Zorn and Laurie Anderson, Friedlander let go of the bow and played only pizzicato as the leader of BAT so to create this intimate brand of bop-infused balladry with the small-group groove of Herbie Nichols’ finest moments. (Friedlander’s band name actually comes from the time Oscar Pettiford busted his arm playing baseball and, in a sling, experimented with a cello and released classics like 1964’s My Little Cello.)

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John Zorn at Yoshi’s

Concert of
Image via Wikipedia

Zorn will be spending some time at Yoshi’s in San Francisco this March.

Sometimes a club is more than a club; it becomes an incubator. From March 11 through 15, Yoshi’s in San Francisco is bringing in saxophonist-composer John Zorn, still a radical at age 55, a man whose music ranges from roll-the-dice free improvisation to elastic, Ornette Coleman jazz, earsplitting punk-jazz, loungey surf-jazz, intimate chamber music and the Ennio Morricone songbook.

Each night at Yoshi’s, Zorn, who leads or composes for umpteen groups, will present a different band, including the Dreamers; Bar Kokhba; Masada String Trio; Electric Masada; and his Masada quartet, a fabulous band. It draws on Coleman and (like much of Zorn’s music) the yearning of Jewish folk forms; it features Zorn on alto saxophone, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Greg Cohen on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Other New York downtowners flying in to perform with one band or another include Marc Ribot, Kenny Wollesen, Erik Friedlander, Cyro Baptista, Mark Feldman, Jamie Saft and Ikue Mori. Tickets on sale soon: or (415) 655-5600.

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All About Jazz Reviews

Anthony Braxton
Image via Wikipedia

From All About Jazz:

Actis Furioso – 2
World People Leo Records
Reviewed by Jerry D’Souza

25-Oct-08 Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton: Beyond Quantum/Performance Quartet 1979/12 1tet Victoriaville 2007/Trio Victoriaville 2007/Solo Willisau
Reviewed by Jeff Stockton

25-Oct-08 Erik Friedlander
Broken Arm Trio Skipstone Records
Reviewed by Mark Corroto

25-Oct-08 David Haney
David Haney / Andrew Cyrille: Clandestine and Conspiracy A Go Go CIMP Records
Reviewed by John Sharpe

24-Oct-08 Mark O’Leary
Mark O’Leary: Two Avant-Fusion Guitar Trios
Reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

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All About Jazz Reviews

Erik Friedlander at Joe's Pub, 7/17/07.
Image via Wikipedia

From All About Jazz:

Erik Friedlander
Broken Arm Trio (Skipstone Records)
Reviewed by Troy Collins

22-Oct-08 John Zorn
Filmworks XX: Sholem Aleichem (Tzadik)
Reviewed by Warren Allen

21-Oct-08 Mary Halvorson Trio
Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records)
Reviewed by Troy Collins

20-Oct-08 Adam Niewood and his Rabble Rousers
Epic Journey Volumes I and II (Innova Recordings)
Reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

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