All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Dave Frishberg

Dave Frishberg

It's difficult to find a category for Dave Frishberg's songs. The New York Times described him as “the Stephen Sondheim of jazz songwriting”, and The London Daily Telegraph called him “a Woody Allen of song”.

Long known as one of the outstanding pianists in jazz, Frishberg has since the early 1980s established himself as an internationally recognized composer and lyricist as well as a solo performer with a loyal following in both jazz and cabaret circles. Four of his albums have won Grammy nominations for best jazz vocal.

Frishberg's unclassifiable but ever-identifiable songs, including cult classics Peel Me A Grape, I'm Hip, You Are There, My Attorney Bernie and Heart’s Desire, are now widely performed and have been recorded by Blossom Dearie, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Bette Midler, Suzannah McCorkle, Tony Bennett,and many others. The New York Times critic Stephen Holden wrote about Frishberg, “Few contemporary writers have produced as many songs that have been embraced by nightclub cognoscenti. In the refinement of his language, he is equalled only by Stephen Sondheim among contemporary American songwriters.”

His songs are carefully designed pieces that are often wry and witty, occasionally tender and bittersweet, and sometimes contain pointed observations and characterizations of people we all seem to know. Typified by verbal and musical craftiness, they are songs written for adults, or at least for audiences that wouldn't mind growing up. They are stamped with his unique musical personality: quirky lyrics you can't get out of your head, memorable melodies that work so well with the words, and often a harking back to the America of his childhood in St. Paul, Minnesota, “when it was a minor league town.” (He collects old baseball books and magazines from the 1940s and earlier. “I couldn't tell you who played in last year's World Series,” he confesses. “But if you want to talk about Chet Laabs or Elbie Fletcher, we can do that.”)

Read more

Tags

Album Review
Read more articles

Albums

Retromania: At The...

Arbors Records
2006

buy

By Himself

Arbors Records
2002

buy

You're A Lucky Guy

Concord Music Group
2000

buy

Classics

Milestone Records
1991

buy

Can't Take You Nowhere

Milestone Records
1987

buy

Live At Vine Street

Milestone Records
1985

buy

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.