I'm In is trombonist Joe Fiedler's fourth recording with his longstanding trio and the second on his Multiphonics Music imprint. This session marks a departure of sorts for Fiedler's adventurous three-piece, finding the trombonist, new bassist Rob Jost and stalwart drummer Michael Sarin exploring more traditional blues and jazz forms than heard on the group's previous albums, Sacred Chrome Orb (Yellow Sound, 2011), The Crab (Clean Feed, 2007), and Plays The Music of Albert Mangelsdorff (Clean Feed, 2005).
A versatile performer, Fiedler has worked with a wide variety of artists, from Latin jazz innovator Eddie Palmieri to avant-garde icon Cecil Taylor. Tempering virtuosity with capriciousness, Fiedler's admiration for the drollery of veteran trombonist Ray Anderson and Downtown luminaries the The Jazz Passengers is evident in the subtle humor he brings to an eclectic selection of original tunes, including the Latinized "In Walked Cleo" and funky "Completely 'Peccable."
Fiedler uses a plunger mute to expand his tonal palette throughout the date, eliciting all manner of earthy textures, especially on "The Grip," which opens the set with a lyrically expressive array of brays, smears and whinnies. He is also a master of extended techniquesespecially multiphonics (hence the name of his record label). The regal opening of "Erstwhile" confirms this, as he majestically harmonizes an octave above Jost's droning arco before the rhythm section gradually modulates into a sinuous Latin groove.
Emboldening their congenial rapport, Fiedler encourages freewheeling interplay and frequent solos from his sidemen. Among the highlights, "The New Denizens" begins with a plangent soliloquy from Jost, while the closer, "Tensegrity," similarly spotlights Sarin's melodic sensibility. Ultimately however, it's Fiedler's show. The swinging title track keenly encapsulates the leader's full dynamic range; following an abstract a Capella introduction of vocalized multiphonics, he skillfully navigates the tune's changes with a blustery series of precise, in-the-pocket cadences.
In addition to his diverse sideman work, Fiedler's reputation as a vanguard artist with a penchant for experimenting outside conventional norms is somewhat belied by the accessibility of his creative effortswhich are well represented on this engaging (and appropriately titled) session. I'm In, a noteworthy addition to his burgeoning discography, is every bit as compelling as the work of his heroes.
Grip; Erstwhile; In Walked Cleo; Moving In Silence; The New Denizens; I'm In; Completely 'Peccable; The Box; Tensegrity.
Joe Fiedler: trombone; Rob Jost: bass; Michael Sarin: drums.
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