NO TRICKS, JUST TREATS! JAZZ CD REVIEWS.

NO TRICKS, JUST TREATS! JAZZ CD REVIEWS.
By Dee Dee McNeil / Jazz Journalist

October 7, 2018

You may be surprised and perhaps as excited as I was to discover that a new, never before released album by Dexter Gordon’s Quartet has been released. He also has a soon-to-be released biography by his widow and former manager, Maxine Gordon. It will be available right before Christmas, published by University of California Press. Ralph Peterson Jr., and Donald Harrison were once staunch pillars in the Art Blakey ensemble. Peterson has put together a stellar big band with mostly Berklee Music School students that features, special guest, Donald Harrison. It’s called the Ralph Peterson Gennext Big Band. Arturo O’Farrill, a composer, pianist and educator encourages a multi-cultural, musical extravaganza at the Mexican border to protest division between people. Phil Schurger strives to find the connection between the higher self and the lower self with his compositions. Sergio Pereira puts his passion and Brazilian memories into a premier album full of spiritual joy and international talent. The lovely composer, Connie Han, is a new pianist on the scene who is passionate and exceptionally gifted. Christian McBride’s new CD is cordless, with the exception of his bass, then adding drums, trumpet and reeds. Finally,Grammy nominated trombonist,John Fedchock successfully moves from big band arranging to an intimate quartet production.

DEXTER GORDON QUARTET – ESPACE CARDIN 1977 Elemental Music

Dexter Gordon, tenor & soprano saxophones/composer; Al Haig, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.

1977 was a transitional year for Dexter Gordon. He was in the process of moving back to the United States from Europe, where he would settle in New York City. He hadn’t been in the Big Apple since the 1940s. He was experiencing a master year of his life at the ripe and creative age of fifty-five years young. It was September 25th and Gordon was joined by Bebop pianist, Al Haig (who had worked with both Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie), Don Byas and Milt Jackson, French bassist Pierre Michelot and dynamic drummer Kenny Clarke, to perform a Parisienne concert. Lucky for us, it was recorded. Elemental Music is the first to discover and release these never before heard recordings.

Opening with Gordon’s composition, “Sticky Wicket,” the party begins right away. It continues with “A La Modal, another Dexter Gordon composition. Al Haig has a light, but assertive touch on the grand piano. Kenny Clark is always prominent and pivotal on drums. Pierre Michelot, a famous French bassist who worked with Kenny Clarke back in 1949 when they were both in French recording sessions with Sidney Bechet, also played with Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims and James Moody. Michelot also worked with Miles Davis and Stan Getz. He was part of the Bud Powell trio that came to Paris in 1959, also with Kenny Clarke, and they worked together off and on until 1981. So, there is a cohesiveness to their playing that comes from bandstand familiarity. Dexter Gordon is stellar on soprano saxophone on this second cut. It’s the only tune where he plays soprano sax instead of his alto. I have always loved and admired Dexter Gordon and his unique style and sound. This entire production is such a rare and exciting find. It’s wonderful to enjoy the man and his horn once more. You’ll relish the quartet’s interpretation of the familiar standard, “Body and Soul,” and they race through the Sonny Rollins composition, “Oleo” at high speed. To close this album, they play “Round Midnight,” sans Gordon, and featuring only the trio.

His wife and former manager, Maxine Gordon, has just completed his official biography entitled, “Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon”. It will be released in November of this year, published by the University of California Press. I can just imagine myself curled up on the couch with his autobiography, putting on this magnificent, historic recording and listening to his unique and compelling tones while I read his life story.


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RALPH PETERSON’S GENNEXT BIG BAND – “I REMEMBER BU” Onyx Productions & Music Label

Ralph Peterson, drums/cornet/Conductor; Antoni Vaquer & Dabin Ryu, Piano; Youngchae Jeong, bass; Julian Pardo, Karol Zabka & Jas Kayser, drums; SAXOPHONES: Eric Nakanishi, lead alto; Devin Daniels,2nd alto; Tim Murphey, 1st tenor; Jake Hirsch, 2nd tenor; Gabe Nekrutman, baritone saxophone; Tomoki Sanders, tenor sax. TROMBONES: Elliot Alexander Brown, lead trombone; Brandon Lin, 2nd; Alan Hsiao, 3rd; Will Mallard, 4th. TRUMPETS: Jon Weidley, lead; Robert Vega Dowda, 2nd; Milena Casado Fauquet, 3rd; Will Mallard, 4th. Ryan Easter, rapper.

An exciting drum solo opens this CD featuring the talents of Ralph Peterson Jr. The tune is called “Uranus” and it’s a spirited number showcasing the dynamic Donald Harrison on saxophone as a special guest. Peterson is employing Art Blakey’s concept with the usage of a two-drummer format to propel his Gennext Big Band. As you may know, Donald Harrison is from the alumni of Art Blakey, as is conductor/ drummer, Ralph Peterson Jr. It was in 1983 that Peterson joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger group as a second drummer. They worked together for several years. Now, like Blakey did, Ralph Peterson Jr., continues a jazz legacy of inspiring and mentoring youthful musicians. This ‘Gennext’ Big Band is made up of mostly Berklee College of Music musicians. They are some of the brightest and best examples of the next generation of jazz talent.

“Uranus” whirls and twirls around, like the planet itself, with arrangements that are on fire! It’s a great way to open this exquisitely well produced album of music. Donald Harrison brings not only straight-ahead saxophone bliss, but also his “Nouveau Jazz” style to this recording. His Nouveau jazz is described as embracing genres like Hip Hop, smooth jazz and R&B. That has got to inspire and encourage the younger generation of musicians who enjoy such a variety of styles and relish mixing the music up. On the sixth cut, “Egyptian Dune Dance” a rapper Ryan Easter is added, and the horn lines bounce around in a repeatable dance throughout. However, for the most part, this music is big band, straight-ahead jazz with a heavy swing groove. Youngchae Jeong is featured during a memorable bass solo on the “Little Man” tune. His tone and timing are first-rate. The tune, “For Paul,” proffers a stellar arrangement that supports an amazing execution by both Donald Harrison and Tomoki Sanders on saxophones. I also enjoyed Elliot Alexander Brown on lead trombone featured on “Ms. BC” playing at a maddening pace. From the spontaneous applause, the ‘live’ audience was thrilled by their performance as well.

The Wayne Shorter composition, “Free for All,” is also played at a sparkling speed that demands the listener’s attention, moving bright as a shooting star. The horn lines fly like startled birds, harmoniously punching the melody and laying the foundation for Donald Harrison’s alto saxophone solo. Jon Weidley on lead trumpet also establishes his formidable style. There is a stellar drum solo for the drummers to dynamically dance in the spotlight. Three drummers are listed on the CD jacket, along with conductor Peterson, of course. They are: Julian Pardo, Karol Zabka and Jas Kayser. Nothing was listed on the CD jacket, so I’m not sure which ones were featured on this tune, but whoever played was absolutely awesome! I was exhausted from just listening to this composition. The energy was contagious.

Ralph Peterson has composed one tune on this production and it is the title tune, “I Remember Bu.” This song is a lovely ballad, but for the most part you will be swinging to energetic big band recordings that celebrate the excitement only an orchestra can muster. This entire project is illuminating and entertaining. The diversity of song choices and the beautiful arrangements that these talented young people interpret make for a listening feast of delicious sounds. Donald Harrison is the hot sauce, but the meat of the matter and the center piece of this musical meal are the extraordinary talents of conductor/drummer, Ralph Peterson Jr. and the way he serves it up.
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PHIL SCHURGER – “THE WATERS ABOVE” Ears&eyes Records

Phil Schurger, guitar; Greg Ward, alto saxophone; Jeff Greene, bass; Clif Wallace, drums.

According to the liner notes, this CD’s title, “The Water’s Above” references a connection between the higher self and the lower self. This is one of the goals of the meditation process. The titles of the original compositions herein seem to explain the artist, Phil Schurger’s basic concept for this album.

“Scorpio” opens the CD. It is an astrological sign, the eighth of twelve zodiac references. Its element is water and it’s ruled by the mysterious planet Pluto. Scorpio signifies secrecy and loyalty. Those born under the sign of Scorpio can also be very controlling and charismatic. Phil Schurger’s composition spins around melodically, like a planet twisting in space. Greg Ward interprets the melody on his alto saxophone, while the composer strums his guitar in the background. The second tune, “Anikulapo” is taken from the Yorubic religion and means ‘one who carries death in his pouch.’ It generally refers to a man. This title resonated with Schurger because of his experience with death early in his life. He also is a fan of Nigerian artist, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of the popular Afrobeat music, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who died Aug 2, 1997. Kuti is legendary in Africa and worldwide as a superstar musician with great charisma.

“I had several brushes with death …As a result of this, I began to look at the concept of death as a driving force for living life with focus and intention, recognizing that time is our only currency in this physical world. These experiences defined my pursuit of both music and meditation. Music is an offering for the betterment of our collective community through an ongoing dialogue amongst generations of musicians and meditation is quite the same,” said Phil Schurger in his liner notes.

Schurger’s band is Chicago-based. They have a tight, cohesive sound, as though they have been working together for many seasons. All the compositions they interpret are composed by the artist. The Yorubic influence returns on the tune, “Yoruba” and is written by Schurger as a nod to some African-American music mentors like Milton Cardona, who introduced him to Cuban Santero music and how rhythms become a ritual language. It’s a nod to Michael Patterson, a person who studied Qabalah and West-African religions, along with a Panamanian Rabbi and that type of cultural music. Together, with Jeff Greene on bass and Clif Wallace on drums, Phil Schurger lays down a tight rhythm section that explores his concepts and compositions in a very modern jazz way. You will find this “Yoruba” composition showcasing freedom and exploration of Schurger’s chordal changes by his individual players. Greg Ward is molten on saxophone. Jeff Greene grandly walks his bass, while Clif Wallace takes a thunderous drum solo. Finally, Phil Schurger steps out front like a sunbeam, hot and determined. From that point forward, the music is avant-garde and modernistic. He closes this album with a tune called, “Nogah” that translates in Hebrew to ‘brightness’. It was also the name of a son of King David in the Old Testament. Schurger offers us a musical journey full of mystery, double entendre and world music improvisation.
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SERGIO PEREIRA – “NU BRASIL” Zoho Label

Sergio Pereira, acoustic guitar/electric guitar/vocals/percussion; Ales Cesarini, acoustic bass/vocals; Mauricio Zottarelli, drums/vocals; Baptiste Bailly, piano/vocals; Alexey Leon, soprano saxophone; Devin Malloy, rapper; Patricia Garcia, violin/viola; Sandra Villora Arenas, cello; Paula Santoro & Sergio Santos, vocals; David Gadea, percussion; Oriente Lopez, flutes; Viktorija Pilatovic, lead vocals; Voro Garcia, trumpet/flugelhorn/string arrangements; Marcus Teixeira, elec. Guitar; Ariel Ramirez, elec. Bass; Gabriel Grossi, harmonica; Helio Alves, piano; Perico Sambeat, alto saxophone.

Brazilian music is infectious and full of spirit, even when it’s slow or moderate tempo’d. Sergio Pereira, a guitarist and composer, has recorded ten original compositions that echo the music of his youth.

“I learned by growing up listening to samba rhythms and playing Brazilian percussion at a local school of samba,” shares the Rio de Janiero native, currently residing in New York City. “Since I was a kid, I have been always playing samba rhythm, making that ‘batucada’ rhythm with my hands and fingers at school, until my teachers would tell me to stop making that noise. I still do it all the time. It’s addictive.”

His musical ensemble is world-class featuring Cuban-born saxophonist, Alexey Leon; Spain’s alto sax great, Perico Sambeat; Cuban flautist and longtime New York resident, Oriente Lopez and Valencia, Spain-based trumpeter and arranger, Voro Garcia. Also, on board is Sao Paulo-based electric guitarist, Marcus Teixeira and French pianist, Baptiste Bailly. Ales Cesarini is from Valencia, Spain and plays bass. Ariel Ramierez is from Cuba and also adds his bass talents. Gabriel Grossi brings his Brazilian harmonica talents to the studio, along with Brazilian-born pianist, Helio Alves and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. Vocalists Paula Santoro, Sergio Santos and Viktorija Pilatovic add vocals. Paula Santoro’s lead vocal sounds beautiful on “Arpoador,” a lilting Brazilian ballad. This composition was inspired by a beach of that name on the South side of Rio. Pereira recalls spending a lot of his teenaged years at that beach. This song summarizes memories of young love, teen friends and broken hearts. It was a time right before he moved to New York and the United States. Sergio Pereira has even added a ‘rapper’ on the opening tune by the name of Devin Malloy.

“I started work on this song last summer while vacationing down in the south of Puglia, Italy. Changing environment and location often provides me with great vibes for inspiration. It’s a happy samba groove with a magical soprano sax solo from Alexey Leon. Devin’s rap (on “Down South”) is basically describing the experience of failure in pursuit of your dreams and talks about how life will continue to evolve and will pick you back up after you’ve fallen.”

For sure, Sergio Pereira’s music will pick you up. It will invigorate you, or soothe you; make you want to dance or lay back peacefully and stare at the ocean waves or perhaps at the East River. Pereira has written a song inspired by his view from his Upper East Side neighborhood in Manhattan.

“I frequently jog on the East Side by the East River and many times, after the jog, I just sit on a bench next to the 59th St. Bridge over-looking Roosevelt Island and Long Island City,” he explains about his composition titled, “East River.”

The title tune, “Nu Brasil” showcases Lithuanian-born singer, Pilatovic. It’s a happy, up-tempo number that showcases Sergio Pereira’s guitar talents in support of the vocalist during this spirited samba. Pianist, Baptiste Bailly, offers a joyful solo and trumpeter, Voro Garcia swings the samba into a jazzy Latin combination, then challenges the vocalist as he exchanges scats with Viktorija Pilatovic at the song’s faded ending. Every composition on this recording is impressive and beautifully written. The music is full of Pereira’s life-journey and the eighteen musicians who join him do justice to his arrangements and creative compositions. As his premier recording for the Zoho label, this production is fueled by passion and sure to please.
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CONNIE HAN – “CRIME ZONE” Mack Ave Records

Connie Han, piano/Fender Rhodes; Edwin Livingston, bass; Bill Wysaske, drums; Walter Smith III, tenor saxophone; Brian Swartz, trumpet.

On the first tune, Brian Swartz takes the lead on trumpet. He plays his instrument with strength and impetus. This ensemble of five comes out swinging hard. The challenge here is discovering the main artist, whose name is plastered on the CD cover. Who is Connie Han? The horns are so forceful, at first, I thought she must be a horn player. Then I heard the electric pianist enter the scene, the curtains parted and I knew she was centered in the spotlight. That’s when I picked up the CD jacket and read the credits. I learned that Han has composition skills, obvious on the first tune titled, “Another Kind of Night,” a song she co-wrote with drummer, Bill Wysaske. They have collaborated on every original composition. “Crime Zone” is the second cut on this album and the title tune. Once again, their arrangement features strong horn lines that establish the melody and punch harmonic lines that are spirited and spew the room with energy. Walter Smith III steps out of the horn lines to offer a memorable solo on Tenor Saxophone. We hear Han lead the rhythm section with lush chords on grand piano in support of Smith’s solo. Then it’s her turn to step out and she does so, moving from acoustic piano to Fender Rhodes, creating a different musical climate. You may recognize traces of the Freddie Hubbard tune, “One of Another Kind,“ at the top of this tune and used as a sort of theme throughout.

Han’s music has a post-bebop feel to it with sudden breaks and bars of silence that shatter the continuity for seconds, before her band pops back in and continues to drive hard. Her influences include Kenny Kirkland and McCoy Tyner; Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. At the age of twenty-two, Connie Han brings something fresh for her peers to pay attention to, with one-foot quicksand-deep in jazz history and another high-heeled boot stepping swiftly into the future. On “Southern Rebellion,” another original by Han & Wysaske, you hear more of Connie Han’s style and attack on her instrument. This song flies at an incredible pace and she finally leads the band with stellar tenacity and unbridled power that I didn’t hear in the other songs. I am spellbound by her speed and agility on the 88-keys. Bill Wysaske takes a drum solo and then the tempo changes, like Hawaiian weather, where it sun shines on one side of the street and rains on the other. Han plays a rubato piano piece that’s beautiful and startling all at the same time. Then, before you can blink, the tempo is racing again and she and Wysaske’s drums make a formidable jazz duo. “Gruvy” (another original) also showcases the trio only, no horns. Edwin Livingston, on bass, takes an opportunity to show off his solid mastery of the double bass instrument. I’ve worked with Edwin in the past and he has always been one of my favorite bassists because of his creativity and inspired playing on both electric and acoustic bass. The tune, “Gruvy” has a repeatable melody that has you humming along before you know it. Jon Henderson’s tune, “A Shade of Jade” cements the realization that Connie Han is an exceptional pianist with a style and a presentation all her own. Her left hand slaps the chords, keeping the time and never wavering, while her right-hand solos like a restless river, flowing over the treble register as fluid as water. This is a solo piano presentation that shatters any preconceived ideas about her ability on her instrument. Connie Han’s youthful talent is a serious force on both piano and electric keyboards. She explained her creative ideas on this solo piano arrangement:

“The concept for the entire arrangement, which was recorded on his ‘Mode for Joe’ album, is actually based on just four bars of Joe Chambers’ polyrhythmic comping on the head of the original recording.”

And polyrhythmic she is! This is one of those recordings that just seems to get better and better as it progresses. Here is a young, blossoming pianist who doesn’t just play expertly, but she has a passion brightly burning in her presentations. As she flowers, her obvious talent is glowing successfully, like a sunrise peeking through a cloudy morning.
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CHRISTIAN McBRIDE– “NEW JAWN” Mack Avenue Records

Christian McBride, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums; Marcus Strickland, tenor saxophone/bass clarinet; Josh Evans, trumpet.

A cartoon characterization on the cover of this new production by Christian McBride draws you in like a comic book. While listening, you realize, this is no joke; no laughing matter. This is a serious! McBride’s exploratory production is presenting us with a rhythm section of bass and drums, topped with the improvisational punch of trumpet, saxophone and bass clarinet. This is a new horizon for McBride and he uses this platform to explore the outer-limits of his D’Addario bass and his unique creativity. On the drummer-penned number titled, “Ke-Kelli Sketch” McBride and Waits, on drums, solo and explore textures, time and melodies to open the composition before the trumpet and reedman join them. The music is captivating and full of spirit.

McBride explains: “I was looking for a new challenge. I don’t get the chance too often to play in a cordless group. Every major group I’ve been a part of for the last ten years, whether it’s been with Pat Metheny or Chick Corea or my own projects, there’s been nothing but chords. So, I wanted to see what happens if I just pull the chords out altogether.”

This project spans styles like blues, swing, abstract modern jazz and Avant-garde with a number of original compositions that sometimes tickle memories of the iconic Charles Mingus, like “Ke-Kelli Sketch.”. At other times, McBride conjures up memories of the steady, solid bass of Ray Brown. McBride and trumpeter, Josh Evans, draw me into “Ballad of Ernie Washington,” a beautiful, bluesy ballad, written by trumpeter Josh Evans in tribute to Thelonious Monk. Monk used this name as a pseudonym on his cabaret card in order to work when his card was revoked. The tone of Evan’s trumpet is silky and beautiful.

The title of this compact disc, “New Jawn” is based on a depiction of a slang used mostly in Philadelphia, PA. Jawn is described as an object, place or thing; sometimes referring to a woman or girl. This work is definitely a new thing for Christian McBride.

As one of America’s virtuoso bassists and arrangers, Christian McBride has become one of the most recorded bass players of his generation, appearing on more than 300 recordings and is proudly, a six-time Grammy award winner. He continues to nest and encourage fledgling, young talented musicians, the same way that Betty Carter or Miles Davis or Art Blakey did. The ultimate goal is to not only give platform to these young voices of jazz, but to strengthen them and encourage their development. Sometimes, those very musicians grow to a point where they leave the nest and fly off on their own. Examples of this are Christian McBride’s former trio with Christian Sands, a gifted pianist who I just reviewed. McBride had a trio featuring Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. Both have gone on to explore their own dreams and formed their own groups. Trumpeter, composer, Josh Evans is a force to watch, as is the extremely talented, Marcus Strickland. Nasheet Waits is certainly the Velcro that attaches securely to Christian McBride’s amazing bass playing. They hold this project in perfect place. No need for piano, guitar, organ or any other strings in the rhythm section. McBride and Waits are enough.

With this recording, each of these musical participants are composers and lend their compositions and talents to making this a rich and celebratory trip to support the concept of “New Jawn”. McBride’s music is fresh, the arrangements are novel and innovative, the production is surprisingly different, but wonderfully creative and pleasant to the ear. Here is a contemporary approach to jazz that is open, like space and heaven itself, and glistening with stars.
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ARTURO O’FARRILL – “FANDANGO AT THE WALL – A SOUNDTRACK FOR THE UNITED STATES, MEXICO AND BEYOND”
Resilience Music Alliance

Here is a double CD rich with culture and inspired by Arturo O’Farrill, a pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, as well as a respected musical activist. With all the social media and newscasters blasting the public with stories about Trumps threatened wall between our country and Mexico, he was sadly reminded of the things, both solid and ethereal, that divide humanity. The idea that a difference of color, people or cultures could be used as a political weapon is an atrocious reality. O’Farrill wanted to be a voice speaking against unwanted and unnecessary borders and lines of division. Thus, was born this ambitious work that showcases a plethora of talent and cultures coming together in perfect harmony to create a beautiful and loving project. As the brainchild of Arturo O’Farrill and his producer, Kabir Sehgal, their concept is to tear down the walls that separate us, using music as a bulldozer.

Jorge Francisco Castillo, who is a retired librarian, has been organizing the Fandango Fronterizo Festival for a decade. This event is annual and features son jarocho music, performed by musicians on both sides of the border wall between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California. Over the years, it’s been a sort of celebratory jam session. Once O’Farrill read about this in the New York Times, he decided he wanted to participate.

“I … spoke to everyone I could about my hope to join the Fandango Fronterizo and record at the border, bringing special guests and making it a true collaboration,” Arturo O’Farrill explains.

Consequently, this project brings together a beautiful bunch of sixty musicians and voices, gathered like colorful flowers, to create a sweet bouquet of cultural traditions that disintegrate walls of division. You will hear Latin flavors throughout that merge with jazz icons like violinist, Regina Carter, cellist, Akua Dixon, and rapper/singer, Ana Tijoux, who is outstanding on her composition, “Somos Sur.” She raps in Spanish and you can feel the urgency and excitement in her message, even though I could not understand her Spanish words. You will listen to son jarocho greats like Patricio Hidalgo, Ramon Gutierrez Hernandez and TachoUtréra. Ramon Gutierrez Hernandez is featured on “Cupido,” one of many Public Domain songs included in this production. Also featured is Iraqi-American oud master Rahim AlHaj and his trio, and Iranian sitar virtuoso, Sahba Motallebi, adds a striking solo on “Tabla Rasa”, a composition by Arturo O’Farrill. Mandy Gonzalez’s gorgeous vocals on “Amor Sin Fronteras” are enhanced by the strikingly lovely violin strains of Regina Carter. O’Farrill has graciously shared his stage and recording platform with a multitude of talent. So many I cannot mention them all. This is an extravagant musical collage, both entertaining and historic. If you love the Mexican heritage and the influence their music has had on America and the world of jazz, you will find this recording truly rewarding.
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JOHN FEDCHOCK QUARTET “LIVE” – “REMINISCENCE” Summit Records

John Fedchock, trombone; John Toomey, piano; Jimmy Masters, bass; Dave Ratajczak & Billy Williams, drums.

The trombone is said to be the closest instrumental emulation of the voice. I am always intrigued by the smooth, round sound of the trombone. John Fedchock brings the beauty of this instrument and the sincerity of his emotional connection onto his recording entitled, “Reminiscence”. The spattering of applause after his gusty and satin, smooth fluidity on trombone reinforces that this project was recorded ‘live’. There are no studio fixes here. It is all excellence and improvisational opportunity.

Fedchock opens with his original composition, “The Third Degree” and John Toomey, on piano, plays a swinging solo before passing the baton back to Fedchock. The leader is off and running, making an up-tempo beeline for the goal post. Four minutes in, they trade fours with the drummer, Dave Ratajczak, who spontaneously soaks up the spotlight. Throughout, I find the melody of this first tune sings in your head like a jazz standard. It’s a very catchy melody that pleasantly hums along, as does the next composition by Fedchock, “Loose Change.” Obviously, he’s a fine composer. This tune is a moderate-tempo, bluesy affair. Bassist, Jimmy Masters takes an opportunity to introduce his thick, melodic bass sound to the audience and he also pumps the rhythm up throughout this production.

“What better place to try an untested song but on a live recording,” Fedchock shared about the tune “Loose Change”.

“As it turned out, our first reading of the tune is what appears on this CD. This was the perfect time to debut the piece.”

This recording is a comfortable mix of jazz standards and Fedchock original compositions. The up-tempo swing approach on “The End of a Love Affair,” eloquently showcases Fedchock’s royal chops on his trombone.

Here is a CD pleasant to listen to from beginning to end. Although John Fedchock is known more prominently for his big band sound and has released five recordings of his New York Big Band and received two GRAMMY nominations for “Best Instrumental Arranging,” this diversion to a smaller, more intimate jazz sound is lovely. It allows the listener to hear more of Fedchock in an intimate and comfortable way. You may want to pour a glass of some favorite libation, settle back and enjoy these stellar musicians. This album of music is a throwback tribute to small jazz clubs and the magic that great artists make before a small but packed audience, where we can watch and hear every nuance of jazz in the most friendly and informal of settings. Prop yourself up in your favorite easy chair and enjoy!
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