”’Concept’ seems to be the selling point of choice for a preponderance of releases these days. There’s always an angle to be played, whether paying tribute to a fallen icon, importing high-profile guest artists, saluting a composer or mashing jazz with another genre. With the aptly titled Fluidity, the undersung trombonist John Fedchock foregoes concept in favor of a satisfying old-school approach to album programming. Fedchock’s quartet, caught live over three nights at the now-defunct Virginia Beach club Havana Nights, offers a set of finely wrought standards hinged to the resonant tones and agile melody readings and improvisations of its leader.
The set opens on a laidback note, with Fedchock offering a mellow reading of ‘East of the Sun’ and then romping through a rangy solo over a midtempo swing groove, handily demonstrating his fluidity as an improviser. Pianist John Toomey follows with a similarly engaging turn, gracefully building and rebuilding momentum with the help of bassist Jimmy Masters. The latter’s solo is followed by dexerous brushes playing from drummer Dave Ratajczak, a longtime Fedchock associate who died last year.
Graceful, urgent swing is the main theme here, with the quartet also turning in a bustling “I Hear a Rhapsody”, bolstered by creative eights trading; a bouncy “Weaver of Dreams”; and a tastefully accented, slightly rearranged ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’. The quartet effectively shifts down, too, drawing out the inherent beauty of ‘Make Someone Happy’ and ‘I’ve Never Been in Love Before;. Joe Henderson’s ‘Homestretch’ pushes the group into grittier hard-bop terrain, and Fedchock heads into modal territory on his own ‘Under the Radar’, inspiring some of the musicians’ most adventurous playing.”
-Philip Booth, JazzTimes
“…a perfect set of real deal jazz. As for Fedchock, he hasn’t lost a step: beautiful phrasing, a tone so pretty that one forgets he’s playing a trombone (!), and never a showy “look what I can do” lick. It’s still early in the year, but this may be among my favorite CD’s of 2015.” -Jazz Society of Oregon
“…Fedchock’s tone, flexibility and creative mind place him among the top tier of trombonists. This is straight-ahead jazz that is at once accessible and imaginative.”
“A bone man with an eye poppingly diverse resume has had a sweet spot for small group sounds for over 30 years. Feeding off the intimate energy of bringing the gang to a club that responds to him solidly, he responds by musically letting all know he’s just one of those cats that has it and doesn’t need prompting to show it. An ensemble work throughout where everyone get s a chance to shine, this is a mighty set of mainstream jazz the way you like to hear it played. Check it out.” -Midwest Record
Documenting a momentous live performance with his dynamic quartet, critically acclaimed trombonist John Fedchock showcases unique treatments of familiar standards coupled with two new Fedchock originals in this sensitive small group session. Beautifully played and wonderfully recorded, this recording captures the flow and interaction of a seasoned group of veterans in a remarkably intimate setting.
John Fedchock: trombone/John Toomey: piano/Jimmy Masters: bass/Dave Ratajczak: drums
East of the Sun • Havana • I Hear a Rhapsody • Make Someone Happy • Under the Radar • Weaver of Dreams • Days of Wine and Roses • I’ve Never Been In Love Before • Homestretch