266

The Taylor / Fidyk Big Band: A Perfect Match

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
This is the second album I’ve encountered that promised A Perfect Match, and both have made good on that unequivocal warranty. What is “matched” herein are the invigorating compositions and arrangements of Mark Taylor and a rip-roaring big band securely anchored by drummer Steve Fidyk and comprised mainly of personnel from two of the country’s leading military ensembles, the Army Blues and Navy Commodores. It’s always a kick to hear them working so closely and so well together.

Taylor and Fidyk have been members of a mutual admiration society since Steve came to DC to take over the Blues’ drum chair, so it was all but inevitable that they’d decide one day to record an album of Taylor's music with Fidyk serving as commander-in-chief. It seemed A Perfect Match, and that is precisely how it turned out. As another pretty fair drummer, Peter Erskine, observes, “. . .the playing is superlative and the writing is great.” He is, of course, correct on both counts. From the brawny curtain-raiser, “Gorillaman Blues,” to Lieber and Stoller’s R&B smash, “Kansas City,” which showcases the band’s awesome trombone section, the collaborative enterprise is marvelously enriched by Taylor’s creative energy and Fidyk’s masterful control. Taylor composed half of the album’s ten selections, wrote all of the charts, co-authored the playful “Brush Taps” with drummer Louie Bellson, and affirms with every stroke of the pen that he is among the world’s most impressive big-band composer / arrangers. “Gorillaman Blues” is a spectacular tour de force for the ensemble, but no more so than Taylor’s “Full Count,” “Boptitude Test,” “Soft Skies” or “Granada Smoothie,” the last written for the peerless Stan Kenton Orchestra.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Taylor transforms George Shearing’s melodious “Lullaby of Birdland” into a sprightly cha cha, the usually kinetic standard “After You’ve Gone” into a sumptuous ballad. Rounding out the program is Billy Strayhorn’s mournful “Chelsea Bridge,” a sturdy platform for Bill Mulligan’s plaintive alto sax. Other featured performers are pianist Tony Nalker (“After You’ve Gone”) and trombonist Matt Niess (“Soft Skies”). They’re letter-perfect, as are the other soloists — baritone Scott Silbert, trumpeter Graham Breedlove (“Gorillaman Blues”); Breedlove (flugel), Fidyk, alto Scott Weinhold (“Birdland”); bassist Jim Roberts, tenors Luis Hernandez and Joseph Henson (“Full Count”); Fidyk, trumpeter Craig Fraedrich (“Brush Taps”); Fidyk, flugel Tom Williams, trombonist Jim McFalls (“Granada Smoothie”); trombonists Niess, McFalls, Jay Gibble (“Kansas City”) — and the ensemble itself, steadfastly inspired by Fidyk and lead trumpeter Liesl Whitaker. This is big-band music-making at its spine-tingling best, and if A Perfect Match doesn’t light your fire, you’d best double-check to be absolutely sure the pilot light hasn’t gone out.

Contact: Writegroove Productions, 2124 SE 8th Avenue, Cape Coral, FL 33990; e-mail writegroove@aol.com. Also available at www.amazon.com and www.cdbaby.com


Track Listing: The Gorillaman Blues; Lullaby of Birdland; Full Count; Chelsea Bridge; Brush Taps; Granada Smoothie; Boptitude Test; After You

Personnel: Mark Taylor, conductor, composer, arranger; Steve Fidyk, co-leader, drums, percussion; Bill Mulligan, Scott Weinhold, Luis Hernandez, Joseph Henson, Scott Silbert, reeds; Liesl Whitaker, Ken McGee, Graham Breedlove, Craig Fraedrich, Tom Williams, trumpet; Matt Niess, Jim McFalls, Jay Gibble, trombone; Jeff Cortazzo, bass trombone; Tony Nalker, piano; Jim Roberts, bass.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Writegroove | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Anatta" CD/LP/Track Review Anatta
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Utazata" CD/LP/Track Review Utazata
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Dare to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare to Be
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!