Dynamic and Virtuosic Cellist ERIK FRIEDLANDER
Finds Inspiration in a 1971 Visit to Virginia Bluegrass Festival
On His New Album, BONEBRIDGE
To Be Released June 7, 2011 on SkipStone Records
Erik Friedlander’s Bonebridge is a collection of spirited pieces with intelligent twists and turns, and a distinctive American flavor. Pairing his cello with Memphis native Doug Wamble’s savvy slide-guitar makes for a buoyant and expressive front line: the two instruments are kindred spirits when played in this fresh context.
Erik’s father Lee, a photographer, would take his family with him on assignment, and one such job was the Galax Fiddler’s Festival in Galax, Virginia. It was 1971, and the Friedlander family was camping out with hundreds of bluegrass fans. Erik would walk around the festival grounds listening to the numerous pick-up bands that had impromptu sessions. Trucks would roll up, doors would open, and groups would come together. “Do you pick?” people would ask each other.
One staple of the bluegrass sound is the lap-steel guitar and Erik, then an 11-year old cello player, quickly became a fan. Men with their guitars turned face up and hitched at their waists, pressed down on the neck of the guitar with a silver slide- the bending tones left a lasting impression: “The sound is so expressive and I think is in some ways similar to the cello being bowed — both instruments are legato and singing. It hit me like a flash when I was contemplating my next project – why not put my cello together with slide?! After making this connection, everything fell into place and the music started writing itself.”
Guitarist Doug Wamble joins a honed unit. Friedlander, Mike Sarin (drums) and Trevor Dunn (bass) have played together in New York City for years (Dave Douglas, John Zorn, Marty Ehrlich), most recently in the Broken Arm Trio. “I wanted to find a musician with experience leading a band and driving a rhythm section.” Friedlander says of Wamble, “A player with charisma, but also a player who can understand the music from a leader’s perspective. Wamble has great ideas, and a deep sound. He understands how to shine, but also how to blend with the cello. He’s just the right guy for the job.”
Friedlander’s finger-picking cello style, his back porch pizzicato, is even more developed and fluid on Bonebridge. He created unusual plucking techniques first on Block Ice & Propane (2007/Skipstone), approaches that are rooted in his early years studying folk guitar. Rediscovering these dormant guitar abilities was a revelation: “For years I thought of the primary voice of the cello as the bowed sound. I would think, ‘bow first’ and then only a little pizzicato if I had run out of ideas. Now I’ve turned that whole way of thinking around. On Broken Arm I hardly used the bow at all and Bonebridge has a similar approach. It’s all about what the music needs, and it’s great to have this whole other quality in my arsenal.”
Release date: June 7, 2011
..:: SOURCE: Fully Altered MEDIA.com ::..