Broken Arm Trio – BROKEN ARM TRIO


Having grown up listening to his dad’s record collection – with particular emphasis on Parker, Young, Basie and Rollins – cellist Erik Friedlander feels perfectly at home in a straighter-jazz-than-usual scenario, after having lent his bravura to practically everybody, from John Zorn to Laurie Anderson, Courtney Love to Dave Douglas. Broken Arm Trio finds him in pleasurable company with bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Electric Masada..) and drummer Mike Sarin (Thomas Chapin, Myra Melford..). The title derives from an accident that occurred to Oscar Pettiford in 1949: a baseball injury made it temporarily impossible for him to play the bass, prompting him to devote his attention to the cello. As a homage of sorts, Friedlander mostly concentrates on pizzicato here, giving the music a light-hearted tone free of regret, contemplation or adventurousness. The result is a frustrating lack of depth, despite the excellent playing of everyone involved. It’s hard to hear much emotional investment in these swinging delicacies’ melodic ingenuousness and general wishywashiness, aside from maybe two minutes of lyrical poignancy in “Ink”. Furthermore, the timbral blend of bass and cello often sounds, well, rigid to these ears. A refined divertissement, but largely unmemorable.


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