When Arts Garage announced the hiring of legendary jazz promoter Todd Barkan this past fall, it sent a signal to esteemed jazz artists that may have been heretofore unattainable for the intimate Delray Beach venue: It said this is the heppest place around, with a dedicated and adventurous audience, and you should be gigging here. Don Friedman is one such important booking, a 79-year-old pianist and pioneer of West Coast jazz who has long been considered a “musician’s musician.” Raised by classically trained parents, Friedman began tinkling the 88 keys at age 4, and by the early ’60s, he was performing alongside Chet Baker and Ornette Coleman, finding a niche in traditional and free jazz combos alike. His music is distinguished by its emotional magnetism, its elegance, and its melodic surprises — an ability to take risks that continues to attract the attention of the jazz scene’s youngest turks. In Friedman’s case, at least, 80 sounds like the new 30.
He’ll perform with bassist Chuck Bergeron and drummer John Yarling at 8 p.m. Friday at Arts Garage, located at 180 NE First St. in Delray Beach. Tickets cost $25 to $35. Call 561-450-6357, or visit artsgarage.org.
Fri., Jan. 2, 2015