Jeff Friedman

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  • Career Highlights
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music
    • Guitarist
    • Performances with Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Eric Mingus, Reeves Gabrels, Karl Berger, Steve Weisberg, Sons of Sappho, Bentmen, Ramcat, the Jeff Friedman Orchestra, and the Jeff Friedman Quartet
    • Tours in Germany and Italy
    • Recordings include Slo & Lo (Jeff Friedman); Um...Er...Ah... (Eric Mingus), Orchestra Jazz Di Siciliana Plays the Music of Carla Bley (Carla Bley); Patient Zero and Magic Room (The Bentmen); Lost in the Stars (Hal Wilner); The Walkman (Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet); and The Bird (Karl Berger)
    • Compositions, arrangements, and/or orchestrations for Carla Bley (including Escalator Over the Hill - Live), Steve Swallow, Karl Berger, Michael Mantler, Jack Bruce, Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, Bobby Shew, J.J. Johnson, Steve Lacy, Randy Weston, Max Roach, Joe Henderson, and Jimmy Knepper

In Their Own Words

"Demystifying the whole process is a lot of what we do here. You're sitting there as a kid looking at the Beatles on T.V. (in my case), and it's surreal. You don't have a sense of what kind of work goes behind that stuff."

"I became enamored of jazz a little bit thanks to Frank Zappa. He had this record with a list of all of his heroes, and I started checking them all out. I learned about Charles Ives, Mingus, Coltrane. . . . But when I got here I dove all the way in. That makes me very aware of all these different influences, so I try not to shove anything down anybody's throat. That can ruin a student. John LaPorta told a student one time, 'I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that you have tremendous technique. The bad news is that you have tremendous technique.' They stop feeling. It's not natural anymore; you can hear them thinking. That's the worst thing, like when you can see a microphone in a cheap movie."

"The pace at Berklee is super-charged compared to other colleges. Our undergrad program would be a masters program anywhere else, especially the last couple years. So there's a tremendous amount of pressure; you just have to go all the way. But I tell my students, 'We're the luckiest people in the world. We get to make music for a living.' In my case I use the analogy of my Duke Ellington class. It's kind of a scandal. I get paid for two hours to talk about Duke Ellington? I would do that anyway!"