Give The Cellist Some: Okkyung Lee / Daniel Levin / Peggy Lee / Alexander von Schlippenbach

Reviews of cello-based albums at All About Jazz:

The cello has become somewhat like the bass clarinet in jazz—there are a significant number of practitioners on the instrument, yet it still wears the flag of rarity quite proudly. Even if it hasn’t been prominent, the instrument still has a long history in jazz, most notably beginning with Oscar Pettiford and Calo Scott in the Fifties and continuing with players like Joel Freedman, Abdul Wadud, Muneer Al Fatah, and Alan Silva in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. Four recent discs each display absolutely different approaches to the instrument in this music: transplanted New Yorkers Okkyung Lee and Daniel Levin; Vancouverite Peggy Lee’s highly composed octet; and New Hampshire native Tristan Honsinger, a stalwart of European free improvisation since the 1970s, in chamber trio with longtime associate, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach.

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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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