I started with an Eric Friedlander solo show at Roulette last night. He is an amazing cello player. I didn't know what to expect, but the website mentioned his solo shows are great. He has some solo albums out. Everything I've seen him in has been stellar and last night was no exception.
I was able to get a front row center seat and was mesmerized. He played for about an hour and 15, which is kind of long for a solo show. He did do a lot of talking and had a slide show ready as well. He did many songs off of a solo cd, Block Ice & Propane, inspired by American roots music and Friedlanders's own history as a young guitar player. The slides and talking were about how every summer in his childhood, his family would go on the road in a trailer traveling around the country. His dad is(was?) a photographer and he wanted to take full advantage of the longer daylight hours. It made it more intimate to see the pictures and hear the stories that inspired the songs.
I also saw how the cello and guitar are kind of similar. Because his first instrument was guitar, he translated a lot of the finger-picking techniques when he learned the cello. He also spent a moment or 2 tuning up after each song. He mentioned how guitar players have to tune up often as well. I started wondering if anyone plays the cello like playing the slide guitar. I'm very curious what that would sound like.
The music was wonderful. He's definitely one of the best ever. He also did some songs from a solo Masada cd he put out the same year, 2007. He also let us in on how challenging it was to play and learn some of the Zorn Masada compositions.
It was a wonderful way to start the evening.