Home > Art, Classical, Concert Photos, Jazz & Avant > REVIEW: Erik Friedlander @ Winningstad Theatre (Portland, OR – 9/12/09)

REVIEW: Erik Friedlander @ Winningstad Theatre (Portland, OR – 9/12/09)

13th Sep 09 (Sun) Leave a comment Go to comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Erik Friedlander grew up spending many of his summers on the road with his family due to his photographer father, Lee Friedlander.  I knew his dad was a photographer with some notoriety, but I hadn’t known about the long, cross-country summer road trips – which were the basis for Erik’s 3-day run of Block Ice and Propane at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)’s TBA Festival (aka T:BA:09).  More about T:BA:09 later…

I have been into Erik for a while… basically contemporaneously with my immersion into John Zorn, as Erik is a mainstay in the Downtown NYC jazz scene and finds his way on maaaaany of the Tzadik releases that I love.  He’s a part of the Masada String Trio & Bar Kokhba Sextet, and has played with Dave Douglas, Ikue Mori, Wadada Leo Smith, severalk of Zorn’s Filmworks series, et cetera.

When I showed up for the event, I was caught off guard by the vast amount of people milling about the lobby.  “Does Erik have this big of a draw in Portland?”

Well, the answer to that question is, now he does.” This was the third night of his three-night run as part of the T:BA:09 festival put on by PICA.  The entire 10-day festival was also coming to a crescendo on the 12th… needless to say, the program looked amazing, full of art of all kinds, not just music.  I’m definitely putting T:BA:10 on my radar for next year.

Erik’s solo chair, laptop stand, and microphone in front of a projector screen was nicely lit with a blue light as the herd of an audience entered the Dolores Winningstad Theatre.  I’d never been to the Winningstad Theatre, but it’s in the same complex as the Newmark Theatre (where I saw the SF Jazz Collective in ’08 and where I’ll see Patton Oswalt tonight), and it’s right next door to the Arlene Schnitzer Hall (where I’ve seen many shows).  “The Winny” was a great venue… small & intimate, but seemingly able to fit in a large amount of people, including 2 tiers of balcony seating.  Luckily I was solo; so I found a stray seat right up front-left.

As mentioned prior, the show was Erik playing solo cello in front of a backdrop of photos from his childhood, primarily taken by his father Lee Friedlander.  The performance, specifically the backdrop, had a very “Americana” feel set to non-“Americana music.”  Or perhaps it was Americana music set through the filter of the cello.  It wasn’t Woody Guthrie-esque, but it had that dirty, road weary, wow-look-at-this-wonderful-country feel to it.  Amongst the photos were also some videos shot by Bill Morrison.

Outside of photographing the country on big summer roadtrips, Erik’s father Lee also photographed many musicians… Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane… even up to the current era like a famous Madonna photo.  Lee’s love of music spilled over to Erik, who found a love for music early in his life.  He started on guitar and eventually moved to cello.  However, his basis in guitar drove much of the style of playing last night.  Only a few times did Erik pull out a bow – rather he plucked and strummed his cello like one would with a guitar… well, a guitar that you were holding like a cello. :)

Setlist:

  • Block Ice & Propane
  • Road Weary
  • King Rig
  • I’m Not Here
  • Cold Chicken
  • Yakima
  • Pressure Cooking
  • Winking at Highway 7
  • Rusting in Honeysuckle
  • Dream Song
  • Airstream Envy
  • Night White

Some of my favorite pieces were the lead-in, title track (to the 2007 CD of the same name), as well as “Pressure Cooking” and “Night White” (nice harmonics).  The story about “Cold Chicken” was great, about how at a diner they were served very slowly and Lee stormed into the kitchen to complain about “who wants to eat cold chicken!?” while the family scurried away.  The music, which I’ve heard several times before on the CD, totally made sense now.  Nice…

Block Ice and Propane (the 2007 CD) can be purchased directly from Erik HERE.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Porcupine TreeThe Incident

ERIK FRIEDLANDER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

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