Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews
2 Cellos – Luka Sulic & Stjepan Hauser, cellos – Sony Masterworks
Erik Friedlander – Bonebridge – Skipstone
Published on July 17, 2011
2 Cellos – Luka Sulic & Stjepan Hauser, cellos – Sony Masterworks (no #) ****:
Erik Friedlander – Bonebridge – Skipstone Records SR 010 ****:
(Erik Friedlander, cello; Doug Wamble, guitar; Trevor Dunn, bass; Mike Sarin, drums)
The cello is many people’s favorite stringed instrument, and it has a better range than the violin for covering a variety of music. Lately it is being featured in all sorts of new guises that take it out of its former bailiwick in the string quartet and cello section of the symphony orchestra. Here are just two new ones:
The two Eastern Europeans have been a big hit with their YouTube video arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Here are dozen of their own arrangements and performances, including that one. Rather than trying to update classical hits they have applied their signature stylings to pop and rock hits from Guns n’ Roses, U2, Coldplay and others. The duo say though they studied classical music for many years, they are both really excited to put their own take on classics by the various pop and rock artists they love. They really tear into some of these tunes – must be a lot of loose bow hairs to pull off at the conclusion of one of their arrangements.
Where The Streets Have No Name (U2) 2. Misirlou [Theme From “Pulp Fiction”] (Dick Dale) 3. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon) 4. Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson) 5. Fragile (Sting) 6. The Resistance (Muse) 7. Hurt (Trent Reznor/Johnny Cash) 8. Welcome To The Jungle (Guns N’ Roses) 9. Human Nature (Michael Jackson) 10. Viva La Vida (Coldplay) 11. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana) 12. With Or Without You (U2)
Eric Friedlander has quite a solo career going as a no-hold-barred cellist. He’s played with John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Ricky Marin and Alanis Morissette. He brings a fresh and unique sound to his album Bonebridge. Others, such as Fred Katz, have done jazz cello before, but this is much more than that. All nine tracks are his own compositions, and they take on aspects of classical chamber music, blues, progressive jazz, and oldtime Appalachian music – often at the same time. The special relationships in sound of the cello and guitar are often exploited in these works. And it all seems to fit together with plenty of interest in each track – not just as a novelty. There’s a fine ensemble feel to this quartet, which makes for intriguing listening.
Low Country Cupola, Beaufain Street, Transpontine, The Reverend, Caribou Narrows, Tabatha, Hanky Panky, Bridge to Nowhere, Down at Bonebridge.
— John Henry