A native of Cleveland, Ohio, trombonist and arranger John Fedchock cut his teeth by serving as musical director of one of Woody Herman's last ensembles. Subsequently, he found himself working with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and writing charts for his own New York Big Band, the latter group being documented on Fedchock's previous two Reservoir releases. Giving us a different perspective on his many talents, Fedchock's Hit the Bricks opts for a small band approach that also benefits from such great sidemen as Allen Farnham, Chris Potter, and Scott Wendholt.
Making for a fine mix of originals and contemporary standards, all of the tracks featured here are marked by Fedchock's singular talents as an arranger. Take for instance Coltrane's 'Giant Steps,' which dons a new face by being taken at a waltz tempo. Tom Harrell's lovely 'Moon Alley' is given a definitive performance that makes one wonder why this composition is not better known. As for Fedchock's original tunes, each one speaks in a different voice, with the title track proving to be a heady piece of retro be-bop of the highest order.
As a trombonist, Fedchock clearly comes from the Curtis Fuller camp, with a tone not unlike those of contemporaries Conrad Herwig and Steve Davis. He plays with great fluidity and a composer's sense of continuity and structure. Potter and Wendholt also get in some fine moments, as does the very supportive rhythm section. A solid release, Hit the Bricks should do wonders in bringing Fedchock the wider recognition that he deserves.
Track Listing: This Just In, Moon Alley, Step En Trois (Giant Steps), Twilight, Hit The Bricks, Cool Customer, I?m Thru With Love, Empty Promises, Brazilian Fantasy
Personnel: John Fedchock- trombone, Scott Wendholt- trumpet (tracks 2,5, & 8 only), Chris Potter- tenor & soprano saxophones (tracks 2, 5, 8, & 9 only), Allen Farnham- piano, Rufus Reid- bass, Dave Ratajczak- drums, Adrian D?Souza- percussion (track 9 only)