Erik Friedlander is one of the pre-eminent cellists of jazz – and he also plays with rock artists, from time to time, most notably John Darnielle’s Mountain Goats. His new project Bonebridge, however, looks for inspiration in the American south…juxtaposing the restless rhythms of small-ensemble jazz with the rich melancholy of country blues, gospel and R&B. He’s working here with the two other members of the Broken Arm Trio – that is, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Mike Sarin – plus slide guitar master Doug Wamble. The result is very warm, immediate music that is, perhaps, just a tad too unsettled and questioning to qualify as down home. I’m particularly taken with the rhythm section, whose scratchy, twitchy late night cadences place even the lushest moments into an urbane, unsentimental context.
I’m more or less along for the ride on this one, but Jason Bivins, who writes for Dusted, said this: “For starters, the sound of this disc is a sheer delight, with a warmth that brings out all the woody colors marvelously (its sound reminds me consistently of that living room feel on Merle Haggard’s Roots Vol. 1). And at the center of these winning tunes is Friedlander’s gorgeous pizz sound, so limber and lyrical and unostentatious. Fittingly, this is a groove recording that’s unafraid of unabashed hooks and sing-song melodies. The gifted Wamble and Friedlander trade off themes throughout, and play them in sweet unison, too. Occasionally the band uses some gentle overdubbing for background high keening or an almost organ-like effect, but in general the sound is spare and exuberant.”
You can read the rest of his review here.
Here’s Friedlander talking about his inspiration for the Bonebridge project