For Friedman's fifth recording, he is definitely exploring the progressive edges of modern mainstream post-bop. He's more sublimated as a voice, with guitarist Attila Zoller taking a prominent role as frontman, while the performances of bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers provide perfect foils for Friedman's swashbuckling creative urges. While the pianist utilizes elements stemming from bop and the avant garde, the melodic and listenable ingredients are juxtaposed with challenging ideas, and the leader acts as a true ringleader in the midst of his three brilliant compadres. "Wakin' Up" starts the six tracks in a quirky, mid-swing waltz; Zoller's signature clipped, staccato leads and the innovative Davis' ruminating bass chords identify a sound prevalent throughout.
Pianist Don Friedman's debt to Bill Evans was obvious in the early '60s, particularly on standards, but he also had his own creative spirit to offer. This 1997 CD reissue brings out Friedman's third of four Riverside dates, teaming him with the obscure bassist Dick Kniss and drummer Dick Berk. The pianist shows that he was developing an original voice and was familiar with the avant-garde of the period on such originals as "Ohcre" and "Flashback." In contrast, he swings conventionally but with subtle creativity on "Alone Together," "News Blues" and "How Deep Is the Ocean." A fine, well-rounded set from the underrated pianist.