Edge Study

Title: Edge Study

Artist: Bruce Friedman and Motoko Honda

Label: ANALOG arts

Release: August 15, 2011

Retailers: Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, CD Universe, DigStation, eMusic, Napster, Rhapsody


Edge Study is a unique listening experience crafted by veteran trumpet improviser Bruce Friedman. In his liner notes for the album, composer Christian Wolff characterized it as “A kind of extreme music, beautiful in its ‘objective’ presence.”


Partnering with keyboard virtuoso Motoko Honda, Bruce has crafted a truly experimental album which welcomes repeated listening.



Track List

1. Bits and Pieces (15:25)

2. Ode to the 60’s (18:31)

3. Amiss, Abyss, A Kiss (14:09)


All compositions by Bruce Friedman

Liner Notes

Improvisation, I take it, is about search and discovery. The music of Edge Study is improvised, but at first (to my ears) sounded as though it might have been a composed music, composed systematically with carefully circumscribed material, a kind of minimalism. In fact, though, this is improvised music, whose distinctive character stems from the limitations (self-)imposed by the performers. There is a main performer and sonic presence, the acoustic trumpet, and a low-key accompanying synthesized sound source. Both are self-effacing, the latter quite a bit more than the former. The music is about sound (in that respect, in the world of free improvisation), sound realized through pretty much entirely undeviating restrictions: spaced, mostly long-sustained single notes on the trumpet (and, more sparsely and in the background, the synthesizer), a consistent succession with no articulated pulse, just sounds of notes one after the other. All trumpet sounds more or less the same (medium) dynamic, all synthesizer sounds quieter. The notes are almost entirely in the trumpet’s middle register (nothing above the second E on the stave) and each one is just there. No melody of a conventional sort emerges, no noticeable sequence of repeated note configurations, no triads. (The only gesture that has a small extra definition comes at the very end, the last three notes of the final track 3, the only time (I believe) the same note occurs three times in succession, and the note is one very rarely heard so far, a low A (below middle C), so, a kind of final, concluding gesture.) A kind of extreme music, beautiful in its “objective” presence. — Christian Wolff

About Bruce

Bruce Friedman is a trumpeter in the Los Angeles area. He has played music in many genres, including Symphonic, Jazz, Free Improvisation, Contemporary Composition (often with graphic notation scores), and pop music. He has studied at the Stockhausen Courses in Kürten with trumpeter Marco Blaauw, Germany; at the VCMI (Vancouver Creative Music Institute, a free improv workshop), as well as with trumpeters Uan Racey and James Stamp. His prior CD releases include “O.P.T.I.O.N.S.” (an improv project for graphic notation symbols, self-organized and interpreted), Notations21, the recently published work on graphic notation in music composition.


He currently is pursuing trumpet projects in the Southern California area which include improvisational elements. The Edge Study release is scheduled for a concert in Eagle Rock, California on November 6, 2011. It will include improvisations by the duo participants of that CD (Motoko Honda and Bruce Friedman) as well as works by Christian Wolff. He also participates in another improvised music ensemble, Decisive Instant. Additionally he participates in a variety of jazz and free improv projects as they occur or develop.

About Motoko

Motoko Honda, a native of Japan, is a concert pianist, composer, and sound artist who has created a distinctive sound through her holistic approach to music, and her exceptional sensitivity in relating to other art forms and technologies. Employing a “virtuoso technique paired with her intensely imaginative mind” (Susan Dirende, L.A. Splash Magazine), and with stylistic influences ranging from jazz to Indonesian music to contemporary prepared piano, Motoko’s structured improvisations are intended to affect the skin, organs and minds of the listener rather than simple recitations of rhythmic and harmonic themes. Called both a “keyboard alchemist” (Chris Barton, L.A. Times), and the “embodiment of a muse” (Greg Burk, Metaljazz), Motoko’s performances transport audiences on sonic adventures that transcend the boundaries and conventions of contemporary music. Equally at home in classical, jazz, or electronic music, Motoko is a musical force of nature, bringing a unique creative sound to her wide-ranging collaborations.Motoko’s life-long interest in the visual arts, theater and music began in childhood.


From the silver medal given by the state at age 4 for her painting, to the National Award from the Japanese government for her calligraphy at age 12, Motoko received early recognition of her artistic leanings. Her musical training began at age 4 with an intensive course of transcription and ear training. By age 12 Motoko had started university level piano performance studies and was mentored by various teachers such as Tokiwa Ishibashi, Ruiko Koga (Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University, School of Music), Aiko Oonishi, Takashi Hironaka (Tokyo University of Fine Arts), and Satoko Tokumaru (Toho Gakuen School of Music). After emigrating to the United States at age 19, Motoko studied with prof. Robert Moeling in Bethany College, KS., and started her career as a classical concert pianist. By the time she received her Bachelor of the Arts degree Motoko had performed concertos and numerous chamber repertoires in Europe and the U.S. with such artists as cellist Margaret Moores (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra) and violinist Samantha George(Lawrence University), and at festivals and historical venues such as Cathedral of Siena and Cathedral of Pienza in Italy.In 1999, Motoko moved to Los Angeles to complete her M.F.A at the California Institute of the Arts. There she studied contemporary repertoires and new music with Vicki Ray, piano improvisation with Bryan Pezzone, composition and creative studies with Wadada Leo Smith, Leroy Jenkins and Art Jarvinen, jazz studies with David Roitstein, Paul Novros, Vinny Golia, and Larry Koonse, electronic music studies with Mark Trayle, and world music studies with David Trasoff, Alfred Ladzekpo, I.Nyoman Wenten, and Swapan Chaundhuri.


During her study Motoko was chosen to represent the piano-keyboard department in CalArts’ promotional CD, performing George Crumb’s Mikrokosmos, was selected as a featured soloist to perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto Op.54 with the CalArts Orchestra, and was honored to present the Motoko Honda Trio at the CalArts Creative Music Festival performing her own compositions.After her graduation in 2003, Motoko started her Okiro Ensemble and Sound Escape Project, presenting numerous collaborations with improvisers such as Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, Elliott Sharp, Alex Cline, Nels Cline, Jeff Gauthier, Ben Wendel, Mike Watt, Steuart Liebig, Emily Hay, Joe Berardi, Maggie Parkins, Kris Tiner, “Butoh” dancer Oguri and Miyuki Kobayashi performing at festivals such as Angel City Jazz Festival, International Spark Electronic Music Festival, Boise Creative and Improvised Music Festival, The Outsound New Music Summit, In The Flow Festival, Garden of Memory, Asian American Jazz Festival, Line Space Line Festival, Hugely Tiny Festival, and Ear Jam. A notable interdisciplinary collaboration is the ongoing “M-Rare” project with visual artist Carole Kim and sound designer Jesse Gilbert, which was featured as part of MOCA’s “Visual Music” exhibition presenting “Synaesthesia” at REDCAT in Los Angeles. Motoko’s collaborative projects have taken her to major venues such as the Ford Amphitheater, Barnsdall Gallery Theater, REDCAT, as well as museums, jazz clubs and underground venues such as The Stone (N.Y.), Jazz Bakery, Blue Whale, Cafe Metropol, Museum of Neon Art, ResBox, Sonic Circuit, Dangerous Curve, Folly Bowl, Eagle Rock Cultural Center, The Chapel Performance Space and Highway Performance Space.


Always eager to expand her ability as a musician and artist, Motoko is currently enrolled in the UCLA certificate program in film scoring, studying music theory and composition with Steve Rothstein, and film music, orchestration, and computer music production with Thom Sharp, Scott Glasgow, and Peter Neff. While continuing to be an active composer/performer, Motoko is a dedicated educator working with the non-profit organization Angel City Arts, and presenting lecture/performances at universities, high schools and conferences.

Reviews “It’s old school experimentation but it has refreshing clarity and that special kind of tension found in exploratory work conducted under generative constraint.” — Wire

“da non sottovalutare (do not underestimate)” — Kathodik