Legendary pianist Don Friedman passed away this June. Don was my piano teacher when I first moved to NYC to study jazz at the age of 18. He was an inspiration not just for the way he played piano, but for the way he carried himself and expressed himself in the world. A humble, brilliant and kind man.
This recording was a joy to put together and work on and to watch unfold. It now feels like a responsibility as well as a privilege. There’s a great obituary of Don in the New York Times here. This track, Strength and Sanity, written by the brilliant composer and trumpeter Booker Little, was first recorded in 1960 by Booker’s sextet which featured Eric Dolphy, Max Roach and Don Friedman on the piano. The album, “Out Front,” was recorded the same year of Booker’s death at the age of 23. These tunes, although known to some jazz musicians, are sort of lost masterpieces. As far as I know, Don, hadn’t revisited these songs in the 57 years since he had recorded them. They are inventive, modern and brilliant compositions and Don and his trio of Phil Palombi and Shinnosuke Takahashi played them with reverence and attitude. This is the title track from their record out next month “Strength and Sanity” taken solo by Don.
I’ve known Becca Stevens for a long time and we’ve worked together quite a bit so I was really excited when Chris suggested bringing her in to record for his record. Becca’s known as a great composer and for her really unique covers of pop tunes (Seal, Morrissey, Frank Ocean) but I know Becca as a great jazz singer with an amazing ability to interpret standards so they feel completely fresh. This version of My Funny Valentine was at the very end of the two day session, and it shook everybody up. Look for this in Season 2: Chris Tordini Trio featuring Becca Stevens and Greg Ruggerio.
Exclusive video: Noah Preminger's original composition "Semenzato" featuring: Ben Monder on guitar, John Patitucci on bass and Billy Hart on drums.
Exclusive video: Jack DeJohnette plays his original composition "Ode To Satie".