The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 6 "Allied Forces" continues to receive outstanding reviews!
I'm psyched to announce that in the 3 weeks since "Allied Forces" was released, it has been receiving critical acclaim and some very humbling reviews. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following jazz writers and their respective blogs for recognizing my latest effort.
**Here's a link to check out some samples-- https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/allied-forces/id1126962861
Do You Know the Way to San Jose?
Special thanks to Marc Free and Nick O'Toole at Posi-Tone Records. I had a great time earlier this month in San Jose performing at the annual summer jazz fest w/ mates Joe Magnarelli, Brian Charette, Michael Dease, Will Bernard and Doug Webb.
The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 5 "Allied Forces" receives its first review!
SPECIAL THANKS to Chris Spector at Midwest Record Review for the kind words on my second solo CD- ALLIED FORCES!
"STEVE FIDYK/ALLIED FORCES: Straight ahead swinging jazz powered by a crew of leaders in their own rights, drummer Fidyk makes no statements here other than he can keep things on track from the back of the stage and that good are meant to be shared by all. Not the kind of feel good jazz you'd associate with water front bars on summer nights but you have to call it that for lack of a better name, this is smoking stuff that works throughout and is the kind of friendly hard core jazz that brings new listeners into the tent despite themselves. On the money throughout and totally hot- Midwest Record Review (www.midwestrecord.com)."
SPECIAL THANKS to Erika Funke, host of the radio program "Art Scene" on WVIA-FM- the PBS and NPR affiliate for Northeastern Pennsylvania. We had fun talking about my new CD project "Allied Forces- (available now atwww.stevefidyk.com).
One of my favorite tunes from the record was the final song I wrote for the project called "High Five." The concept and inspiration came while watching a video of the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet play their smash hit "Take Five" with my youngest son Joey. Joey is named after one of my teachers, the late great Joe Morello. I first met Joe when I was a student at Wilkes College when I was 18. The college jazz ensemble was performing at the Mansfield State Jazz Festival in Mansfield, PA the fall of my freshman year. My jazz band director Tom Heinze knew Joe Morello very well and suggested that I contact him for lessons. Morello did a clinic at the festival and afterwards, I sheepishly asked if he would have time in his schedule to teach me. He gave me his number and said to call his wife Jean to schedule the lesson. It took six months for me to have the courage to call and schedule that lesson, and I’m so thankful that I did. This was back in 1987, long before the distractions of cell phones, computers and I-phones... I would take a two-hour lesson every two weeks with him throughout my college years. After joining the military and being stationed in DC, I would drive up to see him for periodic “check up’s to make sure my form, technique and coordination were on track. Joe is responsible for developing my sound and reflex for music. My teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA is based in part on his teaching and his style of presenting information. As I listened with my son to that classic recording and drum solo, my son Joey turned to me and said, “Hey dad, why don’t you write a tune in 5/4 and call it "High Five.” I set out to come up with a new 5/4 rhythm that was different from the classic accompaniment to Morello's solo (played by Brubeck and Eugene Wright). The rhythm I conceived is the backbone of the tune and can be heard throughout the melody and drum solo section as an homage to Joe and his work with Brubeck.
Here's a Soundcloud link of the tune "High Five from the new CD "Allied Forces."
The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 4
Allied Forces CD Release!
I'm very excited to announce the debut of my second recording as a leader entitled- ALLIED FORCES!
"Allied Forces" is my second tour of duty for Posi-Tone. I had the pleasure of leading a great group of people and musicians featuring tenor saxophonist Doug Webb, alto saxophonist Joseph Henson, guitarist Shawn Purcell, and organist Brian Charette.
We recorded this on a very, very cold day in NY on January 18th 2016, and the record was tracked in one session. There are (11) compositions in all and (6) of them are my originals.
One of my favorite tunes from the record was the second song I wrote for the project called "Gaffe." I came up with the title as an extension (in part) from a tune I wrote for my last recording called "The Flip Flopper."
A “gaffe” is an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator- essentially a blunder. It's obvious that Washington DC is a political town, and I’ve certainly witnessed my share of Gaffes throughout my years living and working here...
The tune is a medium-up swing with an AABA form.
Here's a Soundcloud link of the tune "Gaffe" from my new recording "Allied Forces." I hope you dig it!
Please join me as we celebrate the release of my new record "Allied Forces" on Thursday 7/14 at Chris's Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102. We'll be performing music from the new record, and the first set of music begins at 8 PM. We hope to see you!! ****The official release date for "Allied Forces" is July 29th.
If you are interested in ordering an advance copy, you can do so from my website via an email directly to me at www.stevefidyk.com.
Thanks for reading and supporting this music!
The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 3
Driving in the Car~
This month was a lot of fun, and I've spent a lot of hours driving in my car to and from NYC. It was a great experience working with Brian Charette in support of his latest trio release "Once and Future." We had gigs at the 55 Bar, Small's, and a special "all star" group at Club Bonafide last weekend with Doug Webb, Joe Magnarelli, and Peter Bernstein. My old friend Shawn Pelton from the Saturday Night Live Band stopped by to check out the music at the 55 Bar. It was great seeing him again!
I was honored to be a part of Brian Charette's latest project- "Once and Future." Brian's arrangements, originals, and concept for this recording was stellar. We laid tracks in one day, and it was a ton of fun!
Here's a review from the June 2016 issue of Downbeat Magazine~
Album Review: Brian Charette’s Once & Future Posted 6/6/2016 Brian Charette Once & Future Posi-Tone ★ ★ ★ ½
In every jazz lover’s mind there exists the perfect Hammond B-3 organ player. Whether that ultimate B-3 technician is Jimmy Smith, Charles Earland, Larry Young or Shirley Scott, certain defining parameters exist, regardless of the individual player. But when it comes to Hammond B-3 mastery, Brian Charette wrote the book. Literally. His 101 Hammond B3 Tips (Hal Leonard) covers, among other topics, “funky scales and modes,” “creative chord voicings” and “cool drawbar settings.” Even more proof of his proficiency is heard on Once & Future, where Charette gives a master class in the many styles of B-3 playing, joined by guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Steve Fidyk. Performing covers and original material, Charette’s B-3 touch is decidedly light, buoyant and playful. He brings his style to bear on hardcore grits ‘n’ gravy groovers by the acknowledged masters of the genre, as well as fare that puts me in mind of a cocktail party circa 1963. In that way, Once & Future acts as a calling card of sorts, a sampler of the many styles Charette and trio can bring to your next social function. Thankfully, there’s plenty of steam and smoke to balance the lighter punch bowl offerings. The album kicks off with Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” delivered in groove-a-licious waltz-time goodness. Bubbly, swinging and steaming are apt descriptions here. The pace continues with Larry Young’s “Tyrone” (from 1965’s Into Somethin’), Bernard and Fidyk ramping up the temperature with able solos and fatback groove. Charette’s sparkling “Latin From Manhattan” brings to mind Walter Wanderley as easily as it does Donald Fagen’s “Walk Between The Raindrops.” The trio knocks back Freddie Roach’s “Da Bug,” paints a dutiful rendition of “At Last” and stomps hard on Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbeque.” Other highlights include a beautiful, if jocular, version of Bud Powell’s “Dance Of The Infidels,” a note-perfect “Zoltan” as it appeared on Young’s 1966 masterpiece, Unity, and a cover of Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song.” Both B-3 stylist and student, serious jazz scholar and glitzy entertainer, Charette is a burning soloist who understands the tradition of the Hammond B-3 as well its future—just as cerainly as he understands his place in that lineage. —Ken Micallef
Once & Future: Jitterbug Waltz; Tyrone; Latin From Manhattan; Da Bug; At Last; Hot Barbeque; Dance Of The Infidels; Zoltan; The Scorpion; Falling Fourth; Ain’t It Funky Now; Mellow Mood; Road Song; Blues For 96. (58:11) Personnel: Brian Charette, organ; Will Bernard, guitar; Steve Fidyk, drums.
The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 2
Another Semester in the Books! The Spring 2016 Semester was indeed a busy one! My teaching schedule at Temple University in Philadelphia was solid, and I had a number of clinics and masterclasses throughout the Mid-Atlantic as well. This spring marks the 5th anniversary of leading and conducting the Chesapeake Youth Big Band in Annapolis, MD. We had a number of concerts this winter and spring to include a "side by side" performance with the Army Blues Big Band. It was an honor once again be a part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington National Jazz Ensemble Competition. This was my fifth year working with this amazing organization, and I learn so much from listening to each band perform music from the Ellington library- simply amazing! Congratulations to the 15 bands that made it to NYC for the finals last weekend!!!!
The Driver's Seat Newsletter Vol. 1
Welcome! Welcome to my first newsletter! I have lots of fun and creative projects in progress, and this service will help keep friends updated on my musical musings~
I'm proud to announce the release of the new Walt Weiskopf record The Way You Say It. This was the second recording I had the pleasure of playing on for Walt. He's a consummate professional, a prolific writer, and an incredible tenor saxophonist! For this project, we met in Manhattan on Sunday 9/27/15 for a 2-hour rehearsal to work out solos and details for each arrangement. As you can imagine, Walt's music is very challenging to play, with lots of "sharp turns" rhythmically. We recorded at Acoustic Recording in Brooklyn, NY on 9/29/15, and laid down the record over the course of one 6-hour session. As we were about to record the last take of the night- "Candy" (made famous by Johnny Mercer), we received the news that legendary alto saxophonist Phil Woods had passed. Growing up in N.E. Pennsylvania, not far from the Delaware Water Gap, Phil was a larger than life jazz icon. He was also a childhood friend of my teacher, the great Joe Morello. As we recorded the final take, I had many memories of Phil and Joe circling my psyche... I know you'll dig this record! Please check out an audio preview on iTunes and read a recent review at: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=53304. Also, we'll be performing live next month at An Die Musik in Baltimore, MD on Friday 6/3/16. We hope to see you there!!!