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David Friesen with Clark Terry and Bud Shank: Three to get Ready

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Recorded live in Berlin in 1994, this performance brings together three adventurous musicians-bassist Friesen, trumpeter Clark Terry and altoist Bud Shank-in a trio setting whose instrumentation is as unusual as its results are compellingly full of bright, magical moments.

With Friesen creatively anchoring the program of mostly standards, the three combine in every conceivable way like a kinetic mobile whose shapes are constantly forming new relationships. For instance, trumpet and alto begin the opener, “Should I”; Friesen eventually enters with a swinging walking line executed on his solid-body Hemage upright. During Friesen’s solo, Terry interjects short, well-placed phrases, while Shank’s excursion evolves into an intricate contrapuntal web to which all the players make contributions. In contrast, Fats Waller’s easy-grooving “Squeeze Me” features some dynamic ensemble harmonizations, playful trumpet/sax exchanges and a “mumbles” vocal courtesy of Terry. Bringing the set to a conclusion, “Payin’ Them Berlin Dues Blues” is a extended 12-bar tour de force that gives each player a chance to stretch out, have some fun and sometimes even test traditional boundaries. It all makes for a beautiful example of chamber jazz, performed by three masters.

Highly recommended.