Thursday, February 7, 2008

Joe Friedman: Cup o' Joe

By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 2.7.08
Buy CD: Cup o' Joe

Guitarist Joe Friedman began to play at age 10, and recorded his first album at 13. Although he's not well know outside the New York area, he's one of the sidemen used by many name artists — Eartha Kitt, for example — and is in demand by Broadway show orchestras and groups that play in nearby jazz clubs. 

Friedman has been featured on eight CDs recorded by other artists, but this is the first album under his own name. The quintet that backs him consists of a piano, bass, drums and another percussionist; again, none is a "name," but each provides more than adequate support. 

Two tunes were written and arranged by Friedman; the rest are covers of compositions done by Thelonious Monk, Rogers & Hart, George Benson, Horace Silver and other luminaries. Friedman obviously intends to demonstrate his ability to handle a potpourri of tempos and styles. 

This is a nice, straight-ahead jazz group. Friedman is a versatile guitarist, and it's easy to see why he doesn't have any trouble getting gigs, both in the New York club scene and with touring artists.

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