Friday, September 17, 2010

John Fedchock

John Fedchock NY Sextet (trombone; b. 1957)
Live At The Red Sea Jazz Festival (Capri Records)
Walt Weiskopf (sax)
Scott Wendholt (trumpet)
Allen Farnham (piano)
David Finch (bass)
Dave Ratajczak (drums)

A veteran trombonist and consummate performer, John Fedchock has been a delight to listen to for over 30 years. Unheralded but deserving more exposure among jazz audiences, Fedchock is still one of the most respected among those inside jazz circles. Fedchock got his start with in the Woody Herman Orchestra in the 80s. The stint helped develop his songwriting skills as well as create a very distinctive voice on the trombone. Fedchock has also performed and recorded with Tony Bennett, Maria Schneider, Natalie Cole and Bob Belden among others. His style is well structured, colorful and fierce--similar in style to Curtis Fuller.

Surprisingly in his long career he only has six album to his name as leader but his new release Live At The Red Sea Jazz Festival (Capri Records) is probably the best way to experience his enormous talent. This is a live album that packs a lot of punch and drives with some really hard edges.

The performances from both Weiskopf and Farnham are superb in addition to the rest of the rhythm section who handle Fedchock's delicate and well crafted material in a relaxed manner that shows in a group that has worked together effortlessly. This is a band that can swing, bop and tantalize up and down the scale. There are some stellar solos from Fedchock, Wendholt and Wesikopf throughout the evening performance. "This Just In" and "That's All Right!" highlight the intensity of Fedchock's arrangements and the way the band member weave and interplay with each other.

The performance takes a mellower tone with the Tom Harrell penned piece "Moon Alley" with some lovely work from Wendholt. This is beautiful piece (one of only two covers on the album) which allows Fedchock to show his leadership by allowing the Wendholt to take most of lead throughout (after all the piece was written by a fellow trumpeter).

The albums closing moments are a cover of the Ellington classic "Caravan" and Fedchock's own "Not So New Blues". The sextet play it pretty standard but it does allow Dave Ratajczak to mingle with Fedchock and add a little more vibrancy to this already glittering classic. The final number is a perfect way to close the evening out. A boisterous mid tempo piece for Fedhcock's trombone and a nice back and forth between the horn section. A live post bop piece that could easily sit aside something from Lee Morgan or Stanley Turrentine.

John Fedchock NY Sextet performed at the festival is over 100 degree heat but you would never know it by listening to this date. They are definitely smokin' and its one of the best live records I've heard all year. I honestly can say this is one of those discs you will keep listening to over and over as the year goes on and you won't get tired of it. Live At The Red Sea Jazz Festival is an album of the highest order and a great way to get into one of the most under-rated trombonist on the scene today.

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