WBGO Radar

John Fedchock Big Band: "Like It Is"

John Fedchock

Trombonist John Fedchock has been working toward his new big band recording, "Like It Is " his entire musical life. And it's like it is because it is a life experienced in music, from beginnings in Ohio, to The Eastman School, to  thundering with Woody Herman's Herd, where John's playing was cited by DownBeat magazine as being a big part of why Herman's last Herd was so thunderous.

Fedchock also was part of Gerry Mulligan's Concert Band,  Louie Bellson's Big Band and The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. His own New York Sextet has been documented with recordings, one titled "Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival", played in the scorching sun, where John told me the stage was so hot his tennis shoes actually stuck to the stage...because they were melting! Like it is...

"Like It Is" is John Fedchock's 5th recording with his New York Big Band. Right away, the aggressive approach to "You And The Night And The Music" alerts you to the caliber of musicianship along here: the leader's fluid trombone runs, and more fuel from alto saxist Mark Vinci, Rich Perry's tenor and timekeeper Dave Ratajczak.

The title cut is a latin tinged groover, allowing Charles Pillow on alto sax and Barry Ries's trumpet to get out front of this pretty dangerous collection of musical spirits.

"Just Sayin'", another Fedchock tune, just swings the doors off with  ensemble playing, which the New York Times called "cheerful syncopation served with spit -and-polish precision ." It's a breathable order which enables Charles Pillow, this time on soprano sax, and the leader's trombone lines to show this off this original commission from Graz University.

My favorite here is John's original "Hair Of The Dog", a quirky blues that bulids to a boil, with pianist Allen Farnham, bassist Dick Sarpola, Walt Weiskopf's tenor and the leader's trombone to make the hair on this dog stand up!

There's a gorgeous latin original, "Havana", where Bobby Sanabria lends a skilled  touch takes you right to that warm Cuban night.

Just a few of the tracks that will make you stay for the rest.

This is a very good recording, with charts given a respect only capable from musicians of this caliber. It's "Like It Is" which comes out August 7 from MAMA Records. The band celebrates the release on Monday, August 10th at The Blue Note in New York.

  - Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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