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Craig Fraedrich: Out of the Blues

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Out of the Blues, featuring Craig Fraedrich on trumpet and flugelhorn with The Jazz Trumpet Ensemble, would have sounded great in the sweltering hard-bop landscape that Cannonball Adderley, The Jazz Messengers led by Art Blakey, Horace Silver and other jazz legends began to explore in the late 1950s.

Fraedrich has been featured trumpet soloist with The Army Blues, the premier jazz ensemble of the US Army, since 1986. He has also served as the group's trumpet section leader, assistant group leader, and musical director, and has composed or arranged more than 100 pieces for the Blues. Even the most summary list of his other collaborators includes such jazz legends as Curtis Fuller, Dave Liebman, Jon Faddis, Louis Belson, Ramsey Lewis, and...you get the idea. Trumpet co-lead Kenny Rittenhouse and all the other musicians on this set are also current or former members of The Blues. As trumpet player, educator and entrepreneur Nick Mondello cautions in its liner notes: "These guys don't play trumpets; they play flamethrowers."

From the opening "A Minor Matter," tempos and sounds on Out of the Blues prove Mondello's words true: Soloists Rittenhouse, Fraedrich and guitarist Jim Roberts rip through this set with passion and power. Their playing honors hard-charging jazz trumpet greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard, but you can hear the sound of their own voices, too.

What sounds like Hammond B-3 organ funk in "BugaBlue" is actually an effect on Roberts' guitar, as pianist Tony Nalker's quick dips into soul-jazz keep the groove swinging, and solos by Rittenhouse and Fraedrich sound like carbon copies played high, hard and hot. Fraedrich's curious choice of muted trumpet in the John Coltrane warhorse "Giant Steps" only slightly pulls back its breakneck pace, at least until subsequent solos by Graham Breedlove and Rittenhouse whip it into its finishing sprint.

Among all these gallops and sprints, the balladic blues "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" shines like a gemstone. Fraedrich's lead flugelhorn softly emerges from the ensemble, first to wander and wonder, sweet and sad, in stark solitude; but then it more confidently steps from unsure meditation into full-blown declaration in a sound that nearly says, "Yes I can!"

Out of the Blues would have sounded just fine cooking through the hard-bop kitchens manned by Blakey, Silver, and company six decades ago, which most likely means that it will sound just fine six decades from now, too.

Track Listing: A Minor Matter; Shades of Blue; BugaBlue; Never Let Me Go; R.S.V.P.; Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child; Giant Steps; Missing You; I’ll See You in a Bb Blues.

Personnel: Craig Fraedrich: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Wood: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ken McGee: trumpet, flugelhorn; Graham Breedlove: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kenny Rittenhouse: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tony Nalker: piano; Jim Roberts: guitar; Steve Fidyk: drums; Regan Brough: bass.

Title: Out of the Blues | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

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CD/LP/Track Review
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Out of the Blues

Out of the Blues

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2017

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