Jazz CD Reviews

John Fedchock NY Sextet – Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival – Capri Records

Live from the Middle East.

Published on May 3, 2010

John Fedchock NY Sextet – Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival – Capri Records

John Fedchock NY Sextet – Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival – Capri Records 74102-2, 61:52 ***½:

(John Fedchock, trombone; Scott Wendholt, trumpet; Walt Weiskopf, tenor sax; Allen Farnham, piano; David Finck, bass;  Dave Ratajczak, drums)

I’d imagine you won’t find a more exotic, yet idyllic setting for a jazz festival than the Israeli desert border town, Eilat, on the Red Sea. It’s proof that Summer jazz festivals have spread all over the world and not just to the European circuit and Japan. You’ve got to bet that jazz musicians can hardly wait till June comes around so they can hit the road.

Fedchock comments in his liner notes that the desert heat in August, 2008, hit a blistering 111 degrees and that the rubber soles on his shoes began disintegrating by the second tune of their sound check. There was also the challenge of keeping their instruments in tune in that kind of heat.

John wrote four of the six tracks performed that night with the remaining two being Tom Harrell’s Moon Alley and the other track, the ever-present standard, Caravan. Only the set closer, Not So New Blues is less than eight minutes so the sextet members really get to stretch out on most every track.

With tracks of this length, there is plenty of room for improvisation and extended solos as you find on the opening track, This Just In, where Scott Wendholt and Walt Weiskopf shine. That’s All Right! has the feel of a much larger band than a sextet, as the ensemble spreads the soundstage.

Elvin’s Empire again blends the three horns well before Allen Farnham has a piano solo that ranges from blues to McCoy Tyner-like introspection. John follows with his low register blowing. As a big fan of the under rated trumpeter, Scott Wendholt, I loved Scott’s Flugelhorn work on Moon Alley, written by the Flugelmaster, Tom Harrell. Special mention also must be made of the bass solos of David Finck throughout this CD.

The Israeli audience is enthusiastic but low key. I imagine that sitting outdoors at 1 A.M., when the temperature in the desert setting is still 90 degrees, will mellow out any crowd…

TrackList: This Just In, That’s All Right, Elvin’s Empire, Moon Alley, Caravan, Not So New Blues

– Jeff Krow

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