Anita Brown

 
 

Anita's Blog

The Leading Edge: John Fedchock, Unedited (Sept. 2010 Issue)

Who were your top three earliest influences as a lead player before you turned thirty?

 

John Fedchock

            I first became interested in the jazz trombone at the age of 16, when I discovered recordings of Urbie Green.  His sound and command of the instrument were astounding, and his versatility in styles was uncanny.  His was the sound and style I tried to emulate most in my early years playing jazz trombone.  He was not only a jazz player, but one of the greatest lead trombonists of all time.  Even at a young age, I could recognize this from his recordings.  I discovered that he played with Woody Herman’s band in the 1950s, and immediately became a Woody Herman fan.  While I was in high school I saw Woody’s band play several times in concert.  Jim Pugh was the lead trombonist at the time, and being such a fan of the band, I made a point of buying all the albums that band released, including those with Jim.  It eventually paid off 5 years later when I actually joined Woody’s band, staying for 7 years.  I knew the style of lead player Woody was looking for, because I had studied all the great players that had passed through his band (Bill Harris, Urbie Green, Carl Fontana, Phil Wilson, etc).  I first played the jazz chair for 3 years with Woody, then moved up to the lead chair for another 4 years.  As a college student, my love for Woody’s band brought me to investigate all the other touring big bands and their recordings, and I was particularly impressed by Al Grey’s concept in playing with the Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie big bands, which had a very special and persona sound, different from others I had studied.  That got me thinking more about some of the inherent differences in lead playing in relation to the specific band and their unique style of music.

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