All Through the Night – Craig Fraedrich with Trilogy and Friends

All Through the Night – Craig Fraedrich with Trilogy and Friends

Label: Summit Records

Release date: Apr 2016

Catalog number: 698


01 Avalon
comp: Jolson, DeSilva, Rose
02 Smile
comp: Chaplin
03 Nobody Knows the Trouble I See
comp: trad
04 Without a Song
comp: Youmans
05 The Gospel Truth
comp: Fraedrich
06 Frankie and Johnny
comp: trad
07 Strange Fruit
comp: Meeropol
08 Blues Another Day
comp: Fraedrich
09 I am a Poor, Wayfaring Stranger
comp: trad
10 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
comp: trad
11 St. James Infirmary Blues
comp: trad
12 All Through the Night
comp: trad

Craig Fraedrich – trumpet and flugelhorn

Christal Rheams – vocals

Tony Nalker – piano

Todd Harrison – drums

Paul Henry – bass

The musicians on this album have all been playing together for twenty-plus years, but never in this exact combination. The group all met while playing with premier military bands in Washington DC. Fraedrich first recorded with bassist Paul Henry in 1990.  Pianist Tony Nalker and Fraedrich have worked together virtually daily since 1989, recording a duo CD in 1995 with vocalist Christal Rheams joining them in 2002, forming the group Trilogy and recording two CDs.

The music here is a good reflection of who these great musicians are – unpretentious, subtle and mature.



It’s no secret among professional musicians that the elite military jazz ensembles such as the “U.S. Army Blues,” the Air Force’s “Airmen of Note,” and the Navy’s “Commodores” consist of some of the finest musicians on the planet. Trumpeter Craig Fraedrich, recently-retired 30-year Army Bandsman, his Trilogy crew, and vocalist Christal Rheams are spit-shining examples. And, All Through the Night which features Fraedrich and his former military colleagues in this civilian recording session certainly confirms that.

Fraedrich is one of those players known by those in the know as a swinging, technically superior, jazz artist —and it’s no different on this date. Stepping off, his crew cuts into the old Al Jolson workhorse, “Avalon”—here an up-tempoed burner—after Rheams opens the swinging melodic door and pianist Tony Nalker offers a very tasty Boppish solo. Rheams shows fine pipes here and throughout the entire session. Reserved, yet swinging, she plays things straight covering Charlie Chaplin’s ballad, “Smile”—usually a sentimental album closer. The entire group fires up “Without a Song,” which features a “Cute”-like interplay between pianist Tony Nalker and drummer Todd Harrison.

It is interesting that half of this album’s cuts are traditionals or selections usually associated with iconic artists (Marian Anderson, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday). The challenge, of course, would be for any artist to offer unique perspectives without straying far from the tried and true. “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” is delivered triple-metered straight with Rheams carrying the melodic and emotional weight and with Fraedrich tastefully Harmonizing for “Miles” on end. Later, “Motherless Child” is sent up dark blue, deep, and heavier-pulsing with the group playing at its emotional peak. Trad tale “Frankie and Johnny” here is another cooker where all shine. “The Gospel Truth,” a Fraedrich original, has the leader plunging his way on, calling and responding with Nalker, as he spews the Word. It’s a neat, fun cut. “Strange Fruit” is, as you’d expect, a horrific, sad tale wherein Rheams and all show their dramatic skills and rip hearts out. There’s more melodrama and fine singing by Rheams on “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.”

Fraedrich is player who has a focused, inviting Kenny Dorhamesque sound on “Blues Another Day.” Favoring longer improvised lines, his playing has shades of both Freddie Hubbard in technical chops and certainly KD in lyricism. He parlays ideas from nuggets and expands on them in length there and on the bucket o’ slow funk, “St. James Infirmary,” which also features a nice Paul Henry bass solo. “All Through the Night,” no pure lullaby here, is offered as a tasty vamp-ish conclusion to the session.

All Through the Night is a very distinctive and most enjoyable album which, when inspected, confirms that hard-snap salutes are indeed the order of the day. Fall in.


Track Listing: Avalon; Smile; Nobody Knows the Trouble I See; Without a Song; The Gospel Truth; Frankie and Johnny; Strange Fruit; Blues Another Day; I Am a Poor, Wayfaring Stranger; Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child; St. James Infirmary; All Through the Night.

Personnel: Craig Fraedrich: trumpet and flugelhorn; Christal Rheams: vocals; Tony Nalker: piano; Todd Harrison: drums; Paul Henry: bass.



The album opens with the Al Jolson standard Avalon.   Christal’s Anita O’Day influenced vocal over the stagnant harmony creates a more mournful quality than what might usually be associated with this tune. The flugelhorn and piano solos are developmental with a sense of restrained energy..

The modulations between B-flat and D-flat on “Smile” are smoothly accomplished, resulting in an arrangement the nicely frames the beautifully interpreted vocal melody and melodic solos by muted trumpet and piano.

Fraedrich had arranged Nobody Knows the Trouble I See this as an up jazz waltz with me on flugelhorn but Tony suggested the Bill Evans feel and it worked great. Fraedrich switched to Harmon mute and it all came together. This is engineer Dan Shores’ favorite cut.  Great feel, bass and piano solos. A really nice and balanced selection all around.

Fraedrich has long liked the tune Without a Song, spending many hours as a student with Freddie Hubbard’s version. The reharmonization is a challenge to negotiate but sounds very natural. The first solo chorus introduces the exceptional solo skills of Todd Harrison on drums. The drum and piano trading is an interesting and nice change of pace.

The Gospel Truth takes Tony and Fraedrich back to their first collaborations and duo CD.   A simple Blues with a few chromatic secondary dominants – just a little preaching to the choir!

Frankie and Johnny is one of two tunes on the album that Fraedrich had been hearing fairly frequently on the radio and became intrigued with.  After playing around with it for a while, he came up with this 3/4, gospel, Mingus-esq version that is fun to play. It features a great drum solo by Todd over the form.

Christal really wanted to record Strange Fruit, for reasons of her own, and everybody is glad she did!  The arrangement Fraedrich brought in was pretty close to a straight homage to Billie Holiday and while it doesn’t lose that quality, Christal’s mix of Billie and Nina Simone influences and Tony’s compositional development of the harmony really frames the text beautifully. This one really highlights the fantastic piano they had at Sono Luminous as well as the great and natural acoustic sound of the room.

Fraedrich had been listening to a lot of Kenny Dorham (Blue Spring, Blue Monday, Blue Spring Shuffle etc.) just prior to writing Blues Another Day.  This one can go just about anywhere when performed live.

While two separate cuts on this album, recently the group has been performing I am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child combined as a medley. Both of these arrangements hint back to some of Fraedrich’s straight-eighth ECM influences from the 1980s. Doing traditional tunes in this manner creates an interesting contradiction and frames the text in a new light. Check out the interaction between Todd and Tony on Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child – both are consummate accompanists who interact beautifully together.

St. James Infirmary is the second tune that Fraedrich had been hearing on the radio and it stuck with him. He extended the form a bit, added some sharp – 9 chords and the reoccurring motive.

The album closes with the old lullaby All Through the Night. Fraedrich remembers this song from childhood and it is one he has always wanted to do something with. It is reharmonized, arranged, and performed with references to the quintessential jazz lullaby, Lil’ Darling.