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Monday, October 15, 2007

Erik Friedlander - Volac, Book Of Angels, Vol. 8 (Tzadik, 2007) *****

You must give it to John Zorn, his ideas to bring new packagings and new formats for his Masada song book is truly astonishing. And it is not just re-hashing the same material over and over again, rather, it is offering artists to bring the best they have in terms of interpretation and performance with a given set of music. His Book Of Angels series is now as worthy as all the rest, with Volume 2 by the Masada String Trio, Volume 5 by the Cracow Klezmer Band, and Volume 7 by Marc Ribot among my favorites. And now Volume 8, "Volac" by Erik Friedlander, is of the same high level as the other records. Friedlander's superb playing has never been showcased better than here, in a solo setting, in its purest form, the quality of the compositions comes to its fullest right : dignified, anxious, tormented, serene, superior, melancholy, ... it has it all, the jazzy improv, the klezmer scales, the classical references, ... Friedlander is as comfortable with playing pizzicato, with chordal progressions on several strings, playing it sensitively, or arco with a sense of baroque aesthetic beauty, or with more modern screeching heart-rending high intervallic changes. The cello is of course an instrument which lends itself beautifully for this kind of music, because it is warm, emotional, pure, but Friedlander gives it much more depth and range than many other musicans could. He makes the music whole, he doesn't just perform it. Great music, great artist, great performance.


Guy Peters said...

aaahh nice, i didn't know this one was out yet, though i read something about it on the tzadik-site. i need to get my hands on a copy of that.
and by the way, on a sidenote, thanks for praising fred anderson's "timeless" that highly. i bought it after i read your review, and i've been listening to it for days in a row!

Dan said...

For fans of Erik Friedlander's Volac... I just saw him play an entire concert of VOLAC tunes in Eugene, Oregon on 1/8/2011. I have the review with photos and a setlist up at: