There can be no doubt that in terms of psychoacoustics, the tone colours and the textural palettes perceived from the Hemage bass are altogether remarkable. However, it takes all of the mastery of it by the ineffable David Friesen to bring not only bring the instrument to life, but extend the scope of those very attributes through an urgent elegance that is also wonderfully alert and precise. On Triple Exposure recorded with his Circle 3 Trio, even with the sonic delays and other devices he uses when he is playing solo, David Friesen is personal and eloquent, his virtuoso self without being too heavily personalized or idiosyncratic as he tackles the often savagely daunting repertoire with straight and immaculate fingerwork, neat staccato, impeccable rhythm and absolutely no gimmicks.
Along the way, the erudite David Friesen, who has been making music for numerous decades, leads the charge with his much younger cohorts: pianist Greg Goebel and drummer Charlie Doggett. Both pianist and drummer display restless beauty in their playing as they are gently prodded by the wizened bassist to stretch themselves as far as their substantial musical intellect will let t hem. And both Goebel and Doggett respond to the challenge by defying the norm with virtuosity and intuitive surprises in abundance. The lyrical and essentially ruminative ‘Another Time, Another Place’ is a wonderful example of Goebel’s ability to imbue a melody with the full range of emotions as he plays with plangent gesture and rhapsodic syntax. For his part, Charlie Doggett’s sound is distinctly bright and takes the robust-but sensitive approach to percussion colouring that makes simple figures stand out with polyrhythmic melisma. His timing is impeccable and he makes ‘Let It Be Known’, for instance, sound like perfectly concentric circles of rippling water.
The disc is vividly recorded but not so that the music-making loses a necessary degree of perspective and focus. As ever, the music of David Friesen is tender and hauntingly beautiful. Melodies are radiant and imbued with a density that makes notes seem to hang, then pirouette and dance themselves into phrases and lines that seem to flow interminably from one song to the next. Add to that the fact that the playing is brilliantly idiomatic throughout and you have a very special recording indeed.
Track List: Whetstone; Turn In The Road; Bright Light Sky; Rainbow Song; Side Step, Another Time, Another Place; Right From Wrong; Let It Be Known; Soft As Silk; Everything We Are; Open Country.
Personnel: David Friesen: Hemage bass; Greg Goebel: piano; Charlie Doggett: drums.