Friday, November 01, 2013

Joe Fiedler's Bug Sackbut Does The Sackbut Stomp

Trombonist's Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut is a quartet of Fiedler and fellow trombonists Ryan Keberle and Luis Bonilla along with the tuba player Marcus Rojas. Inspired by the World Saxophone Quartet, Big Sackbut eschews having a rhythm section and instead the three trombones and the brass bass provided Rojas explores the originals from Fiedler along with three covers. The group has a new recording, "Sackbut Stomp" on Multiphonics Music that continues in the vein of Fieder's prior recording "Big Sackbut." Bonilla replaces Josh Roseman from that earlier recording. Steven Bernstein, on slide trumpet, guests on three of the nine selections here which provides for a a little more variety in the tonal colors of this group.

The opening title track provides an example of the interplay between the four before followed by a slightly  rendition of Roger Miller's "King of the Road" with Bernstein's slide trumpet providing a whimsical feel with the trombones providing a dynamic background before Rojas displays his nimbleness on the tuba. Bennie Wallace's "Eight Page Bible" is built upon a bluesy motif with each trombonist taking a solo that he first introduces unaccompanied before the other two and Rojas provide support. Fielder's own incorporation of Duke Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" is particularly delightful. It is followed by a wonderful rendition of the Gil Fuller and Chano Pozo classic "Tin Tin Deo" on which Bernstein is along featured along with Bonilla. Fiedler did all the arrangements and this one particularly stands out. The lovely "Pittsburgh Morning" allows Fielder to showcase the warmth he is quite capable of while Keberle sounds lively and focused on "The Schlep."

Given the limited tonal palette of the instrumentation, this may be a recording that some may wish to sample a few selections at a time. At the same time, listening to the performances several times one hears nuances in the performances that make them continue to sound fresh. There is an audaciousness in a trombone-tuba group playing without a rhythm section. Mixed with excellent playing and arrangements, "Sackbut Stomp" is another fascinating, and often, exhilarating recording.

I received my review copy from a publicist.

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