Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

John Fedchock Quartet: Fluidity

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

“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 dexterous 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.

Originally Published