Fluidity & Live at Nighttown

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Trombonists John Fedchock and Jiggs Whigham have careers going back decades. Fedchock got his start in 1980 in the Woody Herman Orchestra and for the last two decades has led his own 16-piece New York Big Band. Whigham's career began in 1961 when, at the age of 17, he joined the Glenn Miller/Ray McKinley Orchestra then left after two years to join Stan Kenton's band. He's currently the leader of Britain's BBC Big Band. Fedchock's quartet consists of pianist John Toomey (a real delight), bassist Jimmy Masters and drummer Dave Ratajczak, and on Fluidity they work out on several standards—e.g., a rather agitated “East of the Sun,” a too mournful “Make Someone Happy”—plus two originals, one of them his lilting “Havana.” A rousing version of Joe Henderson's “Homestretch” closes this live club recording. Whigham's Live at Nighttown—subtitled “Not So Standards”—is a real challenge. Accompanied by the German pianist Florian Weber and the Romanian electric (ugh) bassist Decebal Badila, “Days of Wine and Roses” features Whigham's stop-and-start solo style. That and his occasional braying require some listener adjustment. Weber is in top form throughout—his lovely intro to “Autumn Leaves” is just one example.