Rob Fried: Wind Song

Rob Fried says he’s inspired by the Chinese elements of wind, water, wood, earth, fire and metal and their applications to nature’s cycles. So although you might be expecting a sonorous journey through the new-age clouds, Wind Song is a surprisingly robust set exploring contemporary Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and blues rhythms.

Fried is a Connecticut-based bassist who wrote all 10 songs here and, unlike the established wave of lead bassists grabbing face time with solos, mostly lingers in the background with his acoustic and electric instruments. Thankfully, he’s recruited a top-notch list of musicians, and trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Phil Hamilton certainly take the mellifluous “Time Peace” and the Latin jazz of “Walky Talky” to great heights. There’s more good stuff: Rob Aries’ and Nick Bariluk’s keys spice up the rumba of “Cuba Duba Do” and the shuffling diction of “Rooster Blues.”

There’s more joyful sounds on the last half of the CD, especially with the easy-listening “Island Weave” propped up by Emedin Rivera’s unwavering and rapid percussion. Flutist Ali Ryerson’s sounds glide over the percolating “Samba Diane,” and Fried’s walking bass holds steady while organ and piano take turns soloing on the traditional jazz of “Extremily,” ending the CD on a swinging note. Diverse and fun to listen to, Wind Song is a strong, cool breeze.