Today was chock-full of interviewing, transcribing, researching and, in general, preparing to write liner notes for a new Don Friedman trio album. The research included diving into books, rummaging through the web for additional information and—best of all—listening to Friedman play the piano and hearing some of the music that has influenced him over the years. Among the listening was the Don Friedman Project at the 2005 Jazz Baltica Festival on Germany’s Baltic seacoast. The project included the late guitarist Jim Hall, bassist George Mraz and drummer Lewis Nash. Despite what the onscreen title says at 00:27, the piece in this rare video is “How Deep is the Ocean?”
In my research for the Friedman notes, I thought that I would sample a video of Leonard Bernstein playing and conducting Maurice Ravel’s seminal Piano Concerto in G-Major, which inspired one of the pieces in the forthcoming Fresh Sound album. Sampling wasn’t good enough. I ended up watching and listening to all three movements of a piece whose secrets I thought I knew—until I was mesmerized by what Bernstein did with it. If you can spare 24 minutes, go here. You, too, may be mesmerized. YouTube doesn’t identify the orchestra. It does not seem to be the New York Philharmonic.