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David Friesen: Day of Rest (Origin)

A review of the bassist's solo piano album

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David Friesen: Day Of Rest
The cover of Day of Rest by David Friesen

Bassist David Friesen often goes to his secondary instrument—the piano—to add new dimensions in color and texture to his recordings. But completely putting aside his main axe to focus on musing from the bench, as he does on this outing, is a step beyond the norm. Patiently working his fingers around a welcoming Ravenscroft grand, Friesen creates a series of attractive and unostentatious miniatures embodying quietude. Taken together, these pieces form a Sabbath day’s set capable of cocooning the ears and mind from the tension of the times.

Offering broadly evocative titles to spark suggestions and call to distant memories, Friesen the pianist proves both reflective and connective in his reach. “Backward Glance,” while playing on nostalgia, establishes a state of serenity that, to one degree or another, spans the entire program. “Day Dream” delivers with diurnal delight(s). “Green Hills Slowly Passing By” eyes smoothly rolling scenery as it comes in and out of view. “Distant Shores” brings gently lapping waves of wistful thought right to land. And “My Dance” advances with terpsichorean delicacy and grace.

Mood and expression vary little across these 20 vignettes, and Friesen rarely draws clear lines to indicate what’s composed or improvised. Those moves, of course, are largely intentional. Day of Rest, reflecting an ideal highlighted in the artist’s own liner statements truly seeks “a simplicity and peace that passes understanding,” favoring comforting developments over flashy exhibitions and formal blueprinting. Works like “In the Moment,” “Meaningful,” “Unfolding,” and “Going Forth” speak directly to this purpose in name and openness. Contented as can be in this particular space, David Friesen puts the mind right at ease.

Learn more about Day of Rest on Apple Music

David Friesen Circle 3 Trio: Triple Exposure (Origin)

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.