Produced by Erik Friedlander
Recorded at Excello by Scott Solter
Mixed at Baucom Road by Scott Solter
Mastered by Steve Berson at Total Sonic Media
All Music by Erik Friedlander
Personnel: Erik Friedlander, cello; Doug Wamble, guitar; Trevor Dunn, bass; Mike Sarin, drums.
In 1971 Erik and his family visited the Galax Fiddlers’ Festival in Galax, Virginia. The Friedlander family was camping out with hundreds of bluegrass fans and 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. If the answer was “yes” a band would have its start.
One staple of the bluegrass sound is the lap-steel guitar and Erik, then a 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 the my cello together with slide?! After making this connection, everything fell into place and the music started writing itself.”
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.
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 finger-picking 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.”
Thank you for purchasing Bonebridge. This fine cd was made possible by the support and skills of a group of talented people. Many thanks to Trevor Dunn, Mike Sarin, Doug Wamble, Scott Solter, Steve Berson, and Adam Leyden Tuck. I also thank my family, Dick Connette, and John Zorn for guidance and support. And to the guy who asked me, “How long have you been trying to do the jazz cello thing?” I say, “Still trying...still trying.”