The bass duets by David Friesen and Glen More are the stuff that legends are made of. Both musicians are arguably among the most influential bassists in contemporary music. David Friesen helped shape the music of such luminaries as Paul Horn, Denny Zeitlin and guitarist John Stowell. Glen Moore is part of the fabled band Oregon and has been so for more than 40 years. He has also played duets with singer Nancy King, pianist Larry Karush among a constellation of others. As duet partners Friesen produced three records: In Concert, Returning and now Bactrian, an eleven set performance comprising pieces composed by each of the bassists, together with once each from Juan Tizol and George and Ira Gershwin.
This is as close to a hyperactive show-stopping star turn as any performance can be. Each piece is a spontaneous meditation by the bassists who also double up on piano on several tracks. Each track is simple and lyrical, abstract and profound. The magnificent tone of Moore’s acoustic bass and the rich resonance of Friesen’s Hemage instrument give each not the purity of song. Song is in the blood of these two musicians and they prove it by shaping their compositions with indescribably beautiful melodies that are discernable even when the music is at its most refractive. The playing is primitive and modern, passionate and bluesy, structured and free, but always rooted in the music they know best: Jazz. The title track, ‘The Bactrian’ composed in the loping rhythm of the ship of the desert injects a cinematic quality, launching into a broodingly percussive tumbling groove. Both David Friesen and Glen Moore have an instinct for lyricism and spontaneity and each provides the perfect foil for the other’s free-ranging flights, while their rich sound and down-home pulse provides each duet an unshakable core.
It is this talent that has made each man the ideal partner for a stellar line of musicians with a wide spectrum of styles and idioms. David Friesen and Glen Moore are bassists not given to overcooking and this whole project us a masterpiece of subtlety, as evidenced on Glen Moore’s ‘Hoe Down’ and David Friesen’s ‘Soft as Silk’. Their take on the lineage of the flaming rumble of the bass is less than conventional here summoning symphonic-like tones from their instruments, which float benignly over each other and in turn add a rich and not entirely predictable harmonic foundation to the music. The surprises come often and effectively, played as Pizzicato harmonics with delicate curlicues of bass lines which often sound like two people singing.
Track List: Still Waters; Free Play; Hoe Down; Soft As Silk; Caravan; Return; Seam Line; Time And Time Again; Brilliant Heart; Summertime; Kontrast; The Bactrian.
Personnel: David Friesen: Hemage bass (left channel – 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11), piano (4 8); Glen Moore: acoustic bass (right channel – 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11), piano (2, 6, 10).
Label: Origin Records
Release date: November 2015
Running time: 1:00:42
Buy album on: amazon