Don Friedman & Frank Tusa

Pianist Don Friedman was born in 1935, in San Francisco, and started playing piano at age four.

Inspired by the big bands of Les Brown, Stan Kenton and Billy May, Don studied jazz at Los Angeles City College, and by playing along with records of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. By the mid 1950s he was working in L.A. with Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, Scott LaFaro, Buddy DeFranco, and Dexter Gordon.

In 1958 he relocated to New York. At about the same time, the legendary bass player Scott LaFaro also moved to New York. The two formed a partnership as roommates, friends and fellow jazz pioneers.

During this period in New York City Don played with his own trio, and with artists such as Pepper Adams, Booker Little, Jimmy Giuffre, Charles Lloyd, Chuck Wayne, Elvin Jones and Herbie Mann.

He initially recorded as a leader for producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside records from 1961 through 1964. His first three LPs were with his trio. Guitarist Attila Zoller, a close friend, was featured on the fourth. These records were highly acclaimed: three won five stars in Down Beat (its top rating), while the fourth earned four stars. By 1965 Friedman had been named a New Star in Down Beat's annual Critics' Poll.

He continues to record as a leader with top sidemen such as Lee Konitz, George Mraz, Lewis Nash, Chuck Israels, Eliot Zigmund, Terri Lynn Carrington, John Patitucci, Peter Bernstein, Ron McClure, and Don Thompson.

Late in the 1960s Don began his association with Clark Terry. (He still anchors Terry’s hard-working quintet.) He also began teaching at New York University. Since then Don has continued to be in demand in New York City as a jazz pianist and educator, while regularly touring the United States, Europe and Japan.

Bassist, composer, educator Frank Tusa has had a wide variety of recording and performing experiences with such diverse artists as Art Blakey, Buddy Montgomery, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Pepper Adams, Shelly Manne, Bobby Hutcherson, Johnny Griffin, Herb Ellis, Art Farmer, Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, John Abercrombie, and George Cables.

Tusa’s early recordings are with jazz legends Paul Bley, Don Cherry, and Dave Liebman. Frank was one of the original members of Dave Liebman’s critically acclaimed group “Lookout Farm”.

In 1980 Frank relocated to San Francisco after spending many years learning and working through the ranks of his native New York City scene. After arriving in San Francisco he very quickly became known as one of the finest musicians in the Bay Area and has been in constant demand for his solid rhythmic anchoring and eloquent melodic lines.

He has also been very active in music education, teaching at San Jose State University and Stanford University.

Frank appeared previousy at Chez Hanny with his quartet.