Friedlander rates as one of a handful of cellists to make a name for himself in the world of jazz and improvised music. An in-demand sideman among the New York Downtown scene, Friedlander has lent his versatile, expressive playing to the Jewish string trio music of composer John Zorn and the neo-Third Stream chamber jazz of trumpeter Dave Douglas, among others. As a leader, he's showcased his original works in two very different groups. The first, Chimera, was a cello/bass/clarinet/bass clarinet quartet that played moody, cerebral pieces, at times utilizing Jewish cantorial melodies. More recently, he's focused his attention on Topaz, a more immediately engaging, often Funk-influenced group that rides Japanese percussion/fretless bass rhythm grooves through odd time signatures and dark, twisting melodic themes.