by Jeff Becker
Trombonist John Fedchock hails originally from Cleveland, Ohio. An area known for producing thoughtful and schooled jazz musicians. Fedchock began his formal studies at Ohio State University and the Eastman School of Music. One of his most recognized posts was with the Woody Herman Orchestra in the 1980s, he emerged as a leading voice due to his noted arrangements. His resume also included stints with Gerry Mulligan, Louie Bellson, Bob Belden, Rosemary Clooney, and Susannah McCorkle. His first album as a bandleader was released in 1992 with the New York Big Band, which was active into the late 2000s. His discography includes such notable recording as: New York Big Band (Reservoir, 1992); On the Edge (Reservoir, 1998); Hit the Bricks (Reservoir, 2000); No Nonsense (Reservoir, 2002); Up and Running (Reservoir, 2007); and Like It Is (MAMA, 2015). On his latest endeavor Reminiscence (Summit, 2018). Fedchock is joined by John Toomey: piano; Jimmy Masters: bass; Dave Ratajczak: drums (tracks 1-6) and Billy Williams: drums (track 7).
“Loose Change,” a Fedchock original, is a relaxed swing selection that has sounds from the cool jazz era. Fedchock’s warm round trombone sound is supported by the rhythm section playing hits that bellow the melody. Everybody is locked in and relaxed feel as the band moves from the head to Fedchock’s solo. The language of bop and post-bop is certainly spoken here. Fedchock’s sound and control is balanced across the register of his bone. Masters and Ratajczak offer a deeply felt swing. Toomey is a beautiful blend of jazz, blues and gospel set to swing time. A simply delightful tune to just let every do their thang, and that they do.
Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now” is given the respect and treatment that such a beautiful standard should be treated with by the ensemble. Fedchock’s A capella opening is expertly played. Ratajczak’s brushes set the mood as Masters provides harmonic support and fills. Fedchock’s phrasing is outstanding on this ballad as he paints hues of trombone mastery across Toomey’s chords. One will have fun listening and recognizing all the tune quotes in this selection. The tune ends as it began, with a tasteful A cappella moment for Fedchock’s warm trombone sound.
Reminiscence is a warming and heartfelt recording that features Fedchock and his cohorts in prime form. Their traditionalist approach is completely swinging and sits firmly in the jazz tradition. The program includes jazz classics, “If You Could See Me Now” (Tadd Dameron) and “Lament” (J.J. Johnson), “The End of a Love Affair” (Redding) and “You’re My Everything” (Warren), including three compositions by Fedchock, “The Third Degree,” and “Loose Change” and “Brazilian Fantasy.” The playing is certainly praiseworthy and well worth the listen.