One By One
For the latest version of Berk's works, we have the two-trombone front line of Andy Martin (slide) and Mike Fahn (valve). Drummer Berk heads up a hard-swinging rhythm section comprised of guitarist Dan Faehnle, pianist Tad Weed and bassist Phil Baker. The harmony and interplay between the trombonists sets the tone of the album. Martin is smooth and possessed with technique akin to that of Bill Watrous and John Fedchock. Fahn is more adventurous and reminiscent of Bob Brookmeyer. (Aren't all modern-day valve trombonists?)
For chops there is the jet-propelled "Revenge for Clarence." For exuberant stomping there is "One by One." For something cool (initially, at least), there is Tom Harrell's "Sail Away." Berk handles his solos, fills, exchanges and interludes with a concern for the energy, continuity and integrity of the entire performance. There is no letdown when Faehnle, Weed or Baker solo. Good album.