About Irving Friedman
In answer to the age-old question "Hoosier clarinetist?" there is Irving Friedman, who also shows up on plenty of album jackets as Izzy Friedman. He was set on the path of finding the perfect reed, as well as a bandleader to provide him with meals and a bed, by a local music teacher in the town of Linton, Indiana. He made it all the way to Chicago by 1923, stopping along the way in Terre Haute to work in a theater orchestra. Thus began the career of a reed player whose lyrical phrases show up on many classic jazz and vocal recordings from the '30s and '40s. Friedman went on to become a leading figure in the development of studio recording orchestras. His involvement with television in the '50s was nothing short of intense; both themes and sound effects on a given program might very likely have originated with Friedman or his company, Primrose.
As it turned out, the aforementioned stint in Chicago was short, involving some study with a clarinetist from the Chicago Symphony as well as a house musician job at the Moulin Rouge club.
Friedman moved on to New York City by the end of 1924. In this period he kept busy with a combination of composition and conducting studies and gigs. His position in the reed section of the Vincent Lopez orchestra was steady through the hottest days of 1926, then he was freelancing and doing recording sessions until joining Paul Whiteman in 1928. Listeners investigating jazz icons from this period such as Bix Beiderbecke or Frankie Trumbauer will eventually stumble across Friedman in one band or the other. He has a part in the Whiteman film entitled King of Jazz, a job that gave him a taste for Hollywood. Friedman wound up hanging around, eventually organizing one of the very first permanent studio orchestras to be assembled by Warner Brothers.
Beginning in 1934, Friedman was the assistant head of the music department of that studio, picking and choosing his own playing and conducting assignments. He kept that job until 1943, then simply began working in the same capacity for another studio, falling under the spell of the MGM lion. Three years later he moved over to Eagle-Lion studios, continuing the infatuation not only with manes but with the obvious main source of income for musicians in the Los Angeles area. Friedman began his own company in 1950, providing both music and sound effects for many films and television programs. One of his best-known compositions from this era is the theme to the series Father Knows Best. He retired in Beverly Hills after selling the Primrose business in 1963. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi