Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Steve Fidyk: Allied Forces

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
The military reference in this record's title is right on the mark. For over a quarter of a century, Steve Fidyk has held down the drum chair in the U.S. Army Blues (part of the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own"), an 18-piece ensemble that has performed America's original art form in a variety of venues throughout the U.S. and around the world. Like any great jazz trapster, Fidyk plays the role of commander in chief—which is not to say that Allied Forces is a drum centric record. And speaking of commanders, check out the aphorism by General George S. Patton printed inside of the disc's booklet, amid the backdrop of marching American troops.

Fidyk excels at putting various components of the drum set in places that challenge his bandmates to dig deeper and thrive on their own terms. A keen sense of dynamics and good taste coexists with a penchant for assertively directing the action. He's equally good at generating hard, no nonsense swing—in full flight, Fidyk often reminds me of Louis Hayes—by executing pointed accents around the set ("Gaffe"); creating a dense cloud of sound via the crashing of large cymbals ("Food Court Drifter"); contributing to a head by gradually and ingeniously adding rhythms without upsetting the applecart ("One For T.J."); and studiously laying down straightforward time with a stick on a partially opened hi-hat ("Good Turns"). During the course of "Gaffe," there's an impressive range of emphasis in Fidyk's comping amidst solos by alto saxophonist Joseph Henson, guitarist Shawn Purcell, and tenor saxophonist Doug Webb. The leader is constantly listening, reacting, and asserting himself without ever assuming a dominant posture.

In the case of Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" and Charlie Parker's "Moose The Mooche," Fidyk's drums impact the way we hear these classic jazz compositions. His snare and toms bob and weave around Monk's melody, creating a skittish counterline before the arrangement shifts to a swinging bridge in three-four time. Playfully irreverent, Fidyk's drumming adds another dimension to the fiendishly shifty tune. While Webb and Henson swing their way through the theme of "Moose," Fidyk punches his bass drum at key points and adds a smack to the snare, briefly initiating an insistent, funk-like vibe that rapidly evolves into a straight-ahead jazz mode. The foundation of "High Five" (one of Fidyk's six original compositions on the record), a densely-textured funk-infused line in five-four time, consists of a cymbal rhythm that sounds like a baby's rattle, pitted against the insistent thwack of the kick and snare.

Fidyk's drums certainly aren't the only reason to spend time with Allied Forces. Everyone in the band, which includes organist Brian Charette, does his share of the heavy lifting. Nonetheless, if you're looking for an example of how a contemporary jazz drummer directs a diverse, complex repertoire with imagination, flair, as well as a healthy respect for the tradition, give this record a listen.


Track Listing: Evidence; Good Turns; Gaffe; Food Court Drifter; Doin' The Shake; Moose The Mooche; Portrait Of Tamela; High Five; In My Room; One For T.J.; Shiny Stockings.

Personnel: Steve Fidyk: drums; Brian Charette: organ; Joseph Henson: alto sax; Shawn Purcell: guitar; Doug Webb: tenor sax.

Title: Allied Forces | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Allied Forces

Allied Forces

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Henry II CD/LP/Track Review
Henry II
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Conference Of The Mat/ts CD/LP/Track Review
Conference Of The Mat/ts
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Âme Sèche CD/LP/Track Review
Âme Sèche
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read "Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Journey
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 1, 2018
Read "Life Of" CD/LP/Track Review Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read "The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!" CD/LP/Track Review The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "3 Times Round" CD/LP/Track Review 3 Times Round
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 7, 2018
Read "Sticks and Stones" CD/LP/Track Review Sticks and Stones
by John Kelman
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "Amp L'étude" CD/LP/Track Review Amp L'étude
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 25, 2018