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KIOS Jazz CD Of The Month: John Fedchock New York Big Band/ Like It Is / MAMA Records

Fans of big band music will find much to enjoy on the new recording from the John Fedchock New York Big BandLike It Is presents 10 compelling selections from this excellent, seasoned band made up of some of New York's finest jazz artists, led by veteran trombonist John Fedchock.

The disc begins with a spirited rendition of "You and the Night and the Music" which features the leader on trombone with Mark Vinci on alto saxophone, Rich Perry on tenor saxophone, and Dave Ratajczak on drums.

Several Fedchock originals are presented on the date, including "Like It Is", "Just Sayin'", and "Ten Thirty 30", featuring Charles Pillow, alto saxophone, Rich Perry, tenor saxophone, and Fedchock on trombone. There is an engaging read of "Ojos De Rojo", a Cedar Walton line, featuring Allan Farnham on piano, Scott Wendholt on trumpet, Gary Smulyan on baritone saxophone, and Dave Ratajczak on drums.

This is the fifth album for the John Fedchock New York Big Band, and a truly impressive date. Like It Is features five Fedchock originals and five arrangements of jazz and American classics.  Fedchock's writing is very impressive, consistent with his previous efforts. He was the chief arranger for Woody Herman in the 1980s, and has continued to develop his writing style over his 35-year career. Fedchock chooses to meld fresh new colors with iconic traditional elements for his compositions, instead of simply re-arranging old big band charts.

Additionally, the group plays with total assurance throughout. This is no doubt due to the fact that many of the members of the group have been with Fedchock for over 20 years, a noteworthy accomplishment for any group, especially a big band jazz outfit.

The result is one of the finest jazz recordings of 2015.

Track listing: You and the Night and the Music, Like It Is, Never Let Me Go, Just Sayin', Ojos De Rojo, Hair of the Dog, Havana, Just Squeeze Me, For Heaven's Sake and Ten Thirty 30.

Band lineup:  John Fedchock, trombone; Mark Vinci, Charles Pillow, Rich Perry, Walt Wesikopf, Gary Smulyan, Scott Robinson, saxophones; Scott Wendholt and Barry Reis, trumpets; Allen Farnham, piano; Dick Sarpola, bass; Dave Ratajczak, drums;Bobby Sanabria, percussion(guest on three tracks).

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Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.