Don Friedman

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Don Friedman
Don Friedman at the Kitano Jazz Lounge, September 2009
Don Friedman at the Kitano Jazz Lounge, September 2009
Background information
Birth nameDonald Ernest Friedman
Born(1935-05-04)May 4, 1935
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedJune 30, 2016(2016-06-30) (aged 81)
The Bronx, New York
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, bandleader
Associated actsPepper Adams, Booker Little, Jimmy Giuffre, Clark Terry

Donald Ernest Friedman (May 4, 1935 – June 30, 2016) was an American jazz pianist. He began playing in Los Angeles and moved to New York in 1958. In the 1960s, he played with both modern stylists and more traditional musicians.

Early life[edit]

Friedman was born on May 4, 1935, in San Francisco.[1] Both of his parents were immigrants to the United States: his father, Edward Friedman, was from Lithuania, and his mother, Alma Loew, was from Germany.[1] He began playing the piano at the age of four.[1] He switched from classical music to jazz after his family moved to Los Angeles when he was fifteen.[1] His early jazz piano influence was Bud Powell.[1] Friedman briefly studied composition at Los Angeles City College.[1]

Later life and career[edit]

On the West Coast, Friedman performed with Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Buddy DeFranco, and Ornette Coleman. He was also a member of Clark Terry's big band.

Friedman moved to New York permanently in 1958.[1] In the 1960s, Friedman played with both modern jazz and more traditional or popular musicians.[1] The former included Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Giuffre, Booker Little, and Attila Zoller; the latter included Bobby Hackett and Herbie Mann.[1] Frieman's first album as a leader was A Day in the City, in 1961.[1] Some of his early albums received top ratings from DownBeat, which also gave him its critics' poll New Star award.[1] He was also an educator in New York.[2] He had many fans in Japan.[3][4]

Friedman was married three times, with the first two ending in divorce.[1] He died of pancreatic cancer, at home in the Bronx on June 30, 2016.[1] He has one daughter, Lynn Adrianna Freedman, and a granddaughter, Ocean Olivo.


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel
1961 A Day in the City Riverside Trio, with Chuck Israels (bass), Joe Hunt (drums)
1962 Circle Waltz Riverside One track solo piano; other tracks trio, with Chuck Israels (bass), Pete LaRoca (drums)
1963 Flashback Riverside Trio, with Dick Kniss (bass), Dick Berk (drums)
1964 Dreams and Explorations Riverside Quartet, with Attila Zoller (guitar), Dick Kniss (bass), Dick Berk (drums)
1966 Metamorphosis Prestige Quartet, with Attila Zoller (guitar), Richard Davis (bass), Joe Chambers (drums)
1975 Hope for Tomorrow East Wind Trio, with Lyn Christie (bass, electric bass), Bill Goodwin (drums)
1978 Hot Knepper and Pepper Progressive Quintet, with Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Jimmy Knepper (trombone), George Mraz (bass), Billy Hart (drums)
1984 I Hear a Rhapsody Stash Solo piano
1993 Don Friedman at Maybeck Concord Solo piano; in concert
1978 Invitation Progressive Trio, with George Mraz (bass), Ronnie Bedford (drums)
1992 Opus D'Amour Sackville Duo, with Don Thompson (bass)
1995 Thingin' HatART Trio, with Lee Konitz (alto sax), Attila Zoller (guitar); in concert
1995 Almost Everything SteepleChase Trio, with Ron McClure (bass), Matt Wilson (drums)
1996 Red Sky Waltz Alfa Trio, with Santi Debriano (bass), Akira Tana (drums)
1996 My Romance: Solo Piano SteepleChase Solo piano
1997 Prism Abeat Trio, with Marco Ricci (bass), Stefano Bagnoli (drums)
1998 Match Point TBR Most tracks quartet, with Tom Butts (tenor sax), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass), Frank Ferreri (drums); two tracks quintet, with Alyse Levy (vocals) added
1999 Attila's Dreams Ephemeris Quartet, with Andrew Cheshire (guitar), Ron McClure (bass), Joey Baron (drums)
1999 Standards in Cagliari Soul Note Trio, with Jeff Fuller (bass), Tommy Bradascio (drums)
2000 My Foolish Heart SteepleChase Quartet, with Jed Levy (tenor sax), Tim Ferguson (bass), Tony Jefferso (drums)
2002 Waltz for Debby 441 One track solo piano; other tracks trio, with George Mraz (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)
2003 Hot House Chiaroscuro Quartet, with Tim Armacost (tenor sax), Ron McClure (bass), Tony Jefferson (drums)
2003 My Favorite Things 441 One track solo piano; other tracks trio, with George Mraz (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)
2003 Timeless Village Trio, with John Patitucci (bass), Omar Hakim (drums)
2004 Salzau Trio Live at Jazz Baltica Skip Trio, with Martin Wind (bass), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums); in concert
2005 Scarborough Fair Eighty-Eights Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Omar Hakim (drums)
2005 Piano Works VI ACT Solo piano
2006 Moon River: New York Monologue Eighty-Eight's Solo piano
2007 Waltz for Marilyn Jazz Excursion Quartet, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Martin Wind (bass), Tony Jefferson (drums)
2007 Straight Ahead No Coast Jazz Trio, with Chuck Israels (bass), Joe Hunt (drums)
2008 I'd Like to Tell You Music Center Trio, with Attilio Zanchi (bass), Tommy Bradascio (drums)
2009 The Composer Enja With Gary Smulyan (baritone sax), Martin Wind (bass), Joe LaBarbera (drums), Gerður Gunnarsdóttir and Elfa Run Kristinsdóttir (violin), Martin Stupka (viola), Stephan Braun (cello)
2010 Circle Waltz 21C Eighty-Eight's Trio, with George Mraz (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)

As sideman[edit]

With Hank DeMano, Monty Budwig, Gary Frommer

- Listen to the Hank Demano Quartet (Freeway Jazz, 1956)

With Buddy Collette

With John Handy

With Joe Henderson

With Elvin Jones

With Don Lanphere

With Booker Little

With Charles Lloyd

With Herbie Mann

With Dave Pike

With Clark Terry

With Attila Zoller

  • The Horizon Beyond (1965)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chinen, Nate (July 7, 2016). "Don Friedman, Versatile Jazz Pianist, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Don Friedman". AllMusic. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  3. ^ "Don Friedman at All About Jazz". Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  4. ^ Don Friedman (1935-2016) Archived July 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]