Desert Island Jazz
Castaways by date
Eric Alexander

Tim Armacost

Peter Barshay

Hadley Caliman

Tony Corman

Meredith d'Ambrosio

Dave Ellis

Steve Erquiaga

Michael Feinstein

Ben Fong-Torres

Giacomo Gates

John and Paul Hackett

Richard Hadlock

Frank Jackson

Geoffrey Keezer

Sebastien Lanson

Jason Lewis

Joe Locke

Pete Magadini

Jane Monheit

Bill Moody

Miles Perkins

Denise Perrier

Billy Philadelphia

Larry Schneider

Danny Spencer

Bill Stewart

Lee Tanner

Martin Taylor

Vince Wallace

John Wiitala

Gini Wilson

Mark Wright

Libby York

Most Recent Castaway - 7th November, 2014
Don Friedman (2014)

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Don Friedman was born right here in San Francisco, but grew up in Los Angeles, where his parents had moved to start a family grocery store in North Hollywood. He'd taken piano lessons up here for several years, but difficulties with his new Southern California teacher caused him to abandon the instrument in his mid-teens. What a loss it would have been to jazz had he not relented shortly afterwards!

Don started going to hear live jazz in the 1950s at the Hollywood Palladium—Stan Kenton's band, for example—and it was there that he first heard bassist Scott LaFaro when LaFaro came through with Buddy Morrow's band. He met LaFaro at the home of Lorraine and Herb Geller, and they would later share a cold-water apartment in New York City.

Don had a good ear, and played in and around Los Angeles with Chet Baker, Buddy Collette, and Dexter Gordon, and also toured with Buddy DeFranco. But he found the LA scene a little too laid-back, so made his move to New York in 1957, just as Bill Evans was making his mark as a leader. (Both would later record with LaFaro.)

Don did four excellent albums for Riverside Records between 1961 and '64 which remain influential. He started touring with his own groups and those of others, and for the past dozen years or so, he was a member of Clark Terry's band (with Dave Glasser, Marcus McLaurine and Sylvia Cuenca), and makes an appearance in the new Clark Terry documentary "Keep On Keepin' On".

Still resident in New York City after almost 60 years, Don remains active on the local scene—and also on the tennis court! It's all too rare a pleasure to have him back in the Bay Area, even if only for a short while.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Charlie Parker Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes Everything Happens to Me Verve
# 2 Miles Davis The Complete Birth of the Cool Israel Capitol
# 3 Booker Little Out Front We Speak Candid
# 4 Bill Evans Waltz for Debby My Foolish Heart Riverside
# 5 Miles Davis 'Round Midnight 'Round Midnight Columbia
# 6 Don Friedman The Composer: Live at Jazz Baltica Salzau Delayed Gratification ENJA
# 7 Sonny Rollins The Bridge Without a Song RCA
# 8 Keith Jarrett Whisper Not What Is This Thing Called Love? ECM
Book Philip Roth, "The Human Stain"
Luxury Item A tennis racket