Dave Frishberg with Special Guest Rebecca Kilgore
Only an off the wall casting director with a taste for the bizarre would cast this ectomorphic Woody Allen-ish sports buff from St. Paul, Minnesota in the role of ultra hip composer, jazz pianist, singerand later watch him be acclaimed the creative heir of Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim and even Noel Coward.
But since no one ever surfaced to cast Dave Frishberg in that improbable role, he invented himself, quietly succeeding beyond even his own quirky, lyric-twisting imagination.
Daves original songsover 125 of themare known to fans of jazz, and lovers of musical wit in every English speaking country. His own records sell consistently in the hundreds of thousands, and when recorded by superstars, they reach a much larger mass audience. His now classic My Attorney Bernie, Im Hip, Blizzard of Lies and Peel Me A Grape have been covered by such icons of hip as Al Jarreau, Blossom Dearie, Mel Torme, Bob Dorough, Cleo Laine, Susannah McCorkle, Jackie & Roy, Rosemary Clooney and Diana Krall. Im just a jazz musician who has always written songs, and finally summoned up enough nerve to sing them in public, he says modestly. The result: seven albums featuring Frishberg as a singer, four of which earned Grammy nominations. His Concord CD, Dave Frishberg Classics, is still selling, 15 years after its initial release.
Frishbergs recordings of VAN LINGLEMUNGO, DODGER BLUE and MATTY (for Christy Mathewson), artfully composed and sung paeans to old ball players, are perpetually spinning on the turntables of just about every sports nut and baseball lover, as well as jazz fans.
Daves carefully designed songs reflect his peculiar musical personalityquirky lyrics, often wry and witty, occasionally tender and bittersweet, the words perfectly married to his distinctive melodies and sophisticated harmonic structure.
Frishberg is also a major sports buff, dating back to his childhood in St. Paul when it was a minor league town. He collects baseball trivia: old books, photos, cards, magazines, from the 1940s and before. I cant tell you what teams played in last years World Series, he confesses, Im still rooting for Pepper Martin, Dizzy Dean and the rest of the 1934 Cardinals.
After journalism school at the University of Minnesota and a couple of years in the Air Force, Dave left St. Paul to join the New York City jazz scene. He played with such stellar instrumentalists as Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Gene Krupa, Ben Webster and Bobby Hackett; and as an accompanist, supported a diverse group of distinguished stylists including Carmen McRae, Dick Haymes, Jimmy Rushing, Anita ODay and the late Irene Kral.
Besides his own albums, Dave Frishberg may be heard on recordings by Manhattan Transfer, Herb Alpert, Jimmy Rushing, Bud Freeman, Susannah McCorkle and others.
In 1971 he moved to Los Angeles where he continued writing and recording as a featured artist. He still works as an ensemble pianist in studios and jazz clubs but since the late 70s, his appearances as a solo vocal performer have become his mainstay.
Since 1986, he has made his home in Portland, Oregon.