Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams


Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

Chicago jazz mainstay Willie Pickens died this past December at age 86. Revisit his performance with McPartland in this 1997 episode of Piano Jazz.

As Cuba Changes, Orquesta Akokán Revives The Golden Age Of Mambo

Producer Jacob Plasse and vocalist José "Pepito" Gómez share how they recorded the band's debut in Havana's legendary Areito Studios and what their team-up symbolizes for Cuban-American relations.

Cleo Brown On Piano Jazz

Cleo Brown makes a rare appearance to perform her greatest hit, "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie," and to recall the style's heyday in the 1930s.

The 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, Joanne Brackeen and Todd Barkan are recipients of the 2018 Jazz Masters award — the highest honor the U.S. gives to a jazz musician or advocate.

Nicholas Payton On Piano Jazz

The trumpet prodigy learned how to improv from fellow New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis. Payton was only in his 20s when he visited with McPartland for this 1998 episode.

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David Friesen
  • 75, Male
  • Portland, OR
  • United States
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Anyone acquainted with David Friesen's exceptional music quickly thinks of his creative universe. Ocean-deep in his sensitivity to the human spirit, Friesen is compassionate and his music founded on integrity and the pursuit of excellence.

He began playing the ukulele and the accordion at 10, and a guitar professionally at 16. Born in Tacoma, Washington May 6, 1942, he was raised in Seattle. Friesen's first exposure to jazz was Slim Gaillard in an L.A. club when he was underage and playing guitar.

At 19, while stationed with the U.S. Army in Paris, he sat in with George Arvanitas, Johnny Griffin and Art Taylor. Then, in Copenhagen, he gigged with drummer D*** Berk and met Ted Curson in 1961. Back in the U.S., he became committed to the bass in 1964, practicing about ten hours a day. He was jamming in Seattle with local musicians - Larry Coryell and Randy Brecker were among his young compatriots - at such places as the Penthouse, where Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans would perform; David would play opposite them and occasionally sat in with the visiting giants. Also, for two years Friesen played piano and bass at a coffee house called the llahngaelhyn owned by bassist Jerry Heldman.

After a long tenure touring with Elmer Gill, who played with Charlie Parker and the Lionel Hampton band; Friesen opened his own coffee house in 1973 in Portland where he and his family make their home. Word began to circulate and his gigs assumed a different perspective as he hooked up with John Handy and others. Jazz education also entered his sphere of interest, and he became a faculty member of the National Stage Band Camps for a couple of summers working with Marian McPartland, John La Porta, Phil Wilson, and the Jamey Aebersold combo clinics.

Joe Henderson was his next association, which was followed by a 1975 summer tour of Europe with the Billy Harper Quintet. This tour opened new doors and led to stints with Stan Getz, Sam Rivers, Kenny Drew, George Adams and Danny Richmond (records with the latter three), and concerts with Dexter Gordon and Mose Allison. Then in 1976-77, he joined Ted Curson, who showcased Friesen's solo bass work and gave him more visibility in the jazzscape.

I first became acquainted with Friesen's gifts at a very moving, successful clinic the Curson group gave to the jazz studies students at Western Washington University in Bellingham, where I was on the faculty in 1977. Then at the 1977 Monterey Jazzfest … Friesen captured the entire audience of more than 7,000 as he opened the festival with a bass solo – sitting on a drum stool, cello-style.

With barely half of 1977 gone, Friesen was joined by the imaginative young guitarist John Stowell; together they geographically dotted the West Coast from B.C. to L.A. with performances and clinics, garnering more fans along the way.

Musical associations with legendary pianist Mal Waldron and f lutist Paul Horn resulted in duet albums with each man, and several concert tours in Europe and America. In August of 1983, Friesen accompanied Paul Horn on a historic 4 week, 18 concert tour of the Soviet Union.

David Friesen has recorded over 65 CD's as a leader/ co-leader and appeared as a sideman or featured artist on more than 100 recordings. He has performed and/ or recorded with many of the great names and legends of jazz including: Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, Michael Brecker, Bud Shank, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Joe Venuti, Mal Waldron, Jaki Byard, Kenny Drew Sr., Chick Corea, Milt Jackson, Slim Gaillard, John Scofield, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Paul Motian, Jack Dejohnette, Airto Moreira, and many others. He has performed in concert as a soloist (Friesen is one of two or three bassists in the world that is able to play a solo concert and keep an audience riveted) and with his own groups throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Turkey, Poland, Japan, Australia and South America.

Friesen's music, which is imbued with certain ingredients of jazz, is also characterized by folk-flavored things and classical and Jewish veins with substantial spontaneity, lyrical strength, warmth and creative discoveries in the musical wilderness.
Dr. Herb Wong/Jazz Times
Photo: Wolfgang Voglhuber
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Comment Wall (13 comments)

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At 8:16pm on September 23, 2009, Cindy Scott said…
Last time I saw you was at some place in Portland with Randy Porter right after Hurricane Katrina. I just got back out there in July and did some gigs with Randy. He's a monster. So much fun!
At 12:43pm on July 14, 2009, Cindy Scott said…
Hi, David, nice to see you here. I just wanted you to know that your workshop several years ago in Houston really helped me figure out how to be myself in my music. I LOVE what I do!
At 10:24am on May 6, 2009, Luiz Santos said…
Enjoy the ride! Luiz
At 7:38am on May 6, 2009, Manee Valentine said…
At 5:30am on May 6, 2009, Sandi said…
Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!
At 1:12pm on September 3, 2008, Max Leake said…
Hi David. We played together a couple times in Portland in the early 80s. I seem to recall the one place was Parchment Farms or something like that. I hope all is well with you. Just wanted to say hello.
At 11:57am on June 19, 2008, Durium said…
Dear David,

Good to meet you. Hope you like my daily Keep swinging blog in which I love to share my passion for jazz. Hope you like my pictures posted at my online photo site

Keep swinging (>840 x)

The Netherlands
At 8:57am on March 22, 2008, Todd Wilkinson said…
You're one of my favorite everythings! If you're ever near K.C. give me a shout. All the Best.
At 9:34am on March 18, 2008, Lisi Axelrad said…
I believe we met a very long time ago at a studio in downtown NYC, at some thing David Avidor, who I was married to, was either recording or producing.
At 12:50pm on March 13, 2008, Lisa Markley said…
hello from a former Seattle-ite (now landlocked in TX)

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