Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Friesen, David (Douglas)

Friesen, David (Douglas), bass; b. Tacoma, WA, 6 May 1942. He grew up in Spokane, WA and Seattle, WA. His parents are Ben and Clara Friesen. His father sang and his mother played C melody saxophone. His sister, Diane Friesen, was born in Tacoma, WA. She's an actress (known as Dyan Cannon). Friesen's first exposure to jazz was the early recordings of Earl Bostic and the June Christy recording "Something Cool", and then hearing 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 Dick Berk and met Ted Curson in 1961.

David is married to Kirsten Friesen. Their first date was in her native Copenhagen after a Coltrane concert there on Oct. 25, 1963. They married in Copenhagen, May 16th 1964. They have three sons, David, Scott, and Toby, and one daughter, Jenelle.

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.

He studied with Ron Simons 1965 Seattle, WA and all the great musicians he came in contact with in my early career and asked questions of: John Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, Wayne Shorter, Albert Stinson, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Mal Waldron, Chick Corea, Paul Motian, Airto, Philly Joe Jones, Mingus and on and on and on!

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.  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, the imaginative young guitarist John Stowell joined Friesen; 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 flutist 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. Friesen has since led many successful tours of his own throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia, South America, England, Scotland, Japan and Australia.

In the future, Friesen's agenda is dominated by persistent efforts to nurture his own identity and positive oriented music, mainly through his solo concerts, in which the bassist excels (Friesen is one of two or three bassists in the world that is able to play a solo concert and keep an audience riveted) duo projects with legendary alto saxophonist Bud Shank, the astonishing acoustic guitarist from Eastern Germany, Uwe Kropinski, violinist Ulli Dinter and trio projects with Clark Terry and Bud Shank, the great Los Angeles guitarist Larry Koonse and drummer Joe Labarbera, with pianist Randy Porter and drummer Alan Jones, and guitarists Dan Balmer and Jerry Hahn. Lastly, his most recent original music is being played with his quartet John Gross/tenor, Dan Balmer/guitar and William Thomas/drums 

Recordings as leader/co-leader:
Star Dance; Waterfall Rainbow; Through The Listening Glass; Other Mansions; Color Pooll; Story Teller (with Tom Harrell); Paths Beyond Tracing; In Concert; Hozan, Friesen Plus 1 (with Hozan Yamamoto); Amber Skies (with Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Paul Motian, Paul Horn); Heart to Heart (with Paul Horn); Sentimental 'Round Christmas; Gonna Plant Me Some Seeds; Encounters (with Mal Waldron); Dedication (with Mal Waldron); Jonah's Journey; Born of Water; More Mistletoe Magic; To Hear The World In A Grain Of Sand (with Andrew Cyrille); Inner Voices (with Paul Horn); Other Times, Other Places; Departure; Dancing With The Bass; Long Trip Home; In Concert; The Spirit Of Christmas; Returning (with Glen Moore); Two For The Show; Upon The Swing; Remembering the Moment (with Mal Waldron); Three To Get Ready (with Clark Terry, Bud Shank); One, Two, Three; Friends of Miles Smiles; Concord Duo Series Volume Eight (with Denny Zeitlin); Portland Jazz Vol. 1; Four To Go; Castles And Flags; Ageless Pathways; Acoustic Special; From Worldbeat to Blue Note; Facing the Wind; Like Drops In The Ocean; Global Voyage; Ancient Kings; Still Waters; Tomorrow's Dreams; Live at the Jazz Bakery; Made In Berlin; The Name Of A Woman; With You In Mind;  Made In Berlin (DVD); Songs Of The Night Wind; Old Folks (compilation CD with Kenny Garrett, John Scofield, Michael Brecker); The Greatest Jazz Standards (Compilation CD with Joe Henderson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Michael Brecker, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner); The World Of Intuition Vol. 2 (compilation CD of Intuition artists including David Friesen Trio "The Name of a Woman"); Grace
As sideperson:
Ted Curson: Jubilant Power, Snake Johnson; Duke Jordan: Duke's Artistry (with Art Framer, Philly Joe Jones), The Great Sessions (with Philly Joe Jones); Joe Henderson: Black Narcissus (with Jack DeJohnette); Billy Harper: Black Saint; Dannie Richmond: Jazz A Confronto; George Adams: Suite For Swingers; Kenny Drew: Ruby My Dear; Mike Nock: Climbing; John Stowell: Golden Delicious; Kazutoki-Kappo-Umezu: Bamboo Village; Linc Chamberland: Yet To Come; Ricky Ford: Manhattan Plaza; Elmer Gill: Three Sides Of Elmoer Gill; Mal Waldron: One Entrance Many Exits (with Joe Henderson, Billy Higgins), Mistletoe Magic (with Joe Henderson, Billy Higgins); Paul Horn: In Concert, Live From Russia, Jazz Compositions; Mark Lewis: Person To Person; Keith Greko: Last Train Outta Flagstaff (with Joe Henderson); Jeff Johnson: No Shadow Of Turning, Fallen Splendor; Richard Drexler: Carfree; Denny Zeitlin: In The Moment; Paul Horn: Sketches: A Collection; Prakash Maharaj: Hinglaj; Tor Dietrichson: Global Village; Steve Kindler: Across The Rainbow Sea; Barefoot; John Nielsen: From The Sky, Sometimes Paris; John Handy: Musical Dreamland; Chuck Marohnic: Pages Of Stone, Now Alone, Hidden Agenda, Many Mansions, Desert Spirit; ; Jeff Johnson: Great Romantic's; Don Alberts: Local Hero; Fred Hamilton: Looking Back On Tomorrow; Valdinho Langer: Fragments Of A Journey, Variety; Suzi Stern Luna: Seven Stars; Allan Pimental: Into The Night; Jack Ballard: The Psalms; Richard Drexler: Heart Communion; Kevin A. Zoernig: Number 23

Books Written by David Friesen:
DEPARTURE Hal Leonard Publisher copyright 1992
YEARS THROUGH TIME/THE MUSIC OF DAVID FRIESEN Hal Leonard Publisher copyright 1995
Books containing information about David Friesen:
UNZIPPED SOULS by William Minor Temple University Press copyright 1995
MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL/FORTY LEGENDARY YEARS by William Minor, Bill Wishner Angel City Press copyright 1997
THE THIRD EAR by Joachim Berendt
ALL MUSIC GUIDE TO JAZZ/3rd Edition Miller Freeman Books copyright 1998

Most Valuable Musician, Monterey Jazz Festival 1977
Winner, DownBeat Critics' Poll: Bass Violin TDW
Voted One of Ten New Super Stars for the '80's, Japan Swing Journal
Four 5-Star Album Reviews - DownBeat
Served on the NEA panel for Jazz applications in Washington, D.C.
'Through the Listening Glass', Inner City Records, Voted
By Los Angeles Examiner as one of the ten best jazz albums of the decade for the '70's.
Cover feature Jazz Times Magazine
David Friesen has written two musical scores for animated shorts, both of which were Academy Award nominees.
Recipient of Three NEA Jazz Performance Grants.
Nominated best Jazz Bassist, American Jazz Awards 1997
"Four To Go" chosen as one of the five best Jazz CD's for
1996/Jazz Times Critics' Picks Poll
"The Name of a Woman" chosen as one of the five best Jazz CDs for 2001/Jazz Times Critics Picks Poll
"The Name of a Woman" chosen as 4th best Jazz import of the year in Japan by Swing Journal Jazz Magazine

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