Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JAZZ RESEARCH: An Evening With Dave Frishberg

Dave Frishberg is known as one of the most outstanding pianists in Jazz. He is reckognized internationally as a composer and lyricist achieving four Grammy nominations for his musical talent. He attended the university of Minnesota and served in the Air Force, he then left his major in journalism to become part of the New York City Jazz scene of the 1960's. In 1971 Frishberg moved to L.A. where he was best known for writing and recording his own songs. One of his most popular songs ever to hit the media is "I'm just a Bill, which appeared regularly on ABC's school house rock series.

"His songs are carefully designed peices that are often wry and witty, occasionally tender and bittersweet, and sometimes contain pointed observations of people we all seem to know."

"I thought it was hip, but I wasn't ready for the Page Three. When I first walked in it took me awhile to realize that most of the staff and many f the customers were dressed as the opposite sex. It was like a museum of sexual lifestyles. I knew nothing of this." -Dave Frishberg

"When I close my eyes I would see a piano keyboard, and I'd drift off to sleep that way, not hearing the music but visualizing the voicing on the keyboard. I knew this is what I wanted to be involved with for the rest of my life. -Dave Frishberg

"For instance Duke Ellington can strike a three note chord in the middle of the piano along with a single note down in the bass, and you can walk up to the same piano and hit the same four notes and you can't get Duke's sound. Blossom Dearie can play a chord and it will sound unearthly quiet, and you can play the same voicing, and it will be beautiful, but it won't sound like Blossom. Often it's the time feeling that's so personal, as with Mose Allison or Erroll Garner or Pete Johnson, but the scary ones are the pianists that can touch a piano key and make a sound that nobody else can make." -Dave Frishberg

"...these are songs to be sung "in character" so to speak, because the song is composed of reflective discourse, references, asides, attitudes, and other elements of personal conversation. The words need to be delivered rubato, to say the least. I think it's clearly awkward, if not impossible, to indicate character or tell jokes with a choir." - Dave Frishberg

My point of view on Frishberg:
His work is witty and almost sarcastic when I listen to it, and most of his top songs are upbeat and appealing.
I feel that someone could learn something from his lyrics, for example I'm Just A Bill was a purely educational song written for PBS.
He uses music to educate his audience while making them laugh at the same time.
I feel like he would be fun to have an argument with, I probably wouldn't be able to get mad at him he would probably just make me laugh it off.
His melodies are catchy and they can repeat in your head all day long.

1 comment:

jamie said...

You've pulled some great quotes Mo, but what is your point of view on Frishberg?