posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Los Angeles_ Dale Fielder, the LA based musician,composer,bandleader is just one of those rare entities that chooses to grow and get better with time. After more than 20 years as the leader of Dale Fielder Quartet, He keeps re-inventing himself with his great original compositions or performing on different instruments he has mastered,which now seems to be the Baritone Sax.
This writer and Dale Fielder connections goes all the way back to 1992 in the springtime, as Los Angeles was just trying to heal its wounds from a bitter uprising over the Rodney King /LAPD incident. One of the brightest vehicles to come out of that time was the emergence of Leimert Park Village , a quaint piece of L.A. dedicated to the African-American and World Cultural Arts community where it all came together as “One”. Another positive wave of transition came into play was the re-emergence of the “Coffee House”. the most popular of that period was Fifth Street Dick’s . Truly a magnet for good classic Jazz, spirited conversation,chess and later on “LIVE” Music performed 7 days a week. The Owner Richard Fulton began his business model of just having a safe, & sober place for recovering people to enjoy life without undue influences that contributed to their downfall in life.after his Coffee House’s popularity grew so quickly, Richard an avid jazz collector, moved to the next level and began presenting jazz in a Jam session format on Fridays and Saturday night. He hired Dale Fielder to “lead the charge and see what develops”, Inside of six months, Richard had the most talked about “Spot” in LA, Musicians were coming over after the Gigs and hitting with Dale and the fellas, along with The World Stage around the corner, There was nothing like this phenomena since the 1950s or 1940s on Central Ave. Dale Fielder was at the Eye of the Hurricane, as all of this Jazz Utopia was going Down.
Dale began to develop a reputation for having great musicians in his band and his playing was becoming legendary on saxophone especially on alto which he was playing a lot in those early years. Two of the young-lions of that era that were constantly among the personnel used by Dale Fielder were , Thomas “Mr. Taste” and Bill “The Count” Markus. They were among the best of the best that performed powerfully when called upon. Jane Getz who had already made her bones inside the New York Jazz scene with the likes of Charlie Mingus and other legendary fixtures on the scene, was now living in Los Angeles .She and Dale found each other through the music in LA , and fit in perfectly as the final piece of the Quartet, bringing experience, skill and panache to the group. 21 years later, here they are still glowing. still pumping out great original jazz compositions. They perform together today as a family unit, each knowing the other’s strengths and nuances, and how to make them even better.
There are many words to describe greatness and masterful, I choose “passionately sublime” to attach to this group. I can also say the same for their latest presentation on CD, RESILIENCE! a double CD by the Dale Fielder Quartet.
Passion is a word that most definitely sears all of Dale Fielder’s compositions and arrangements. This writer is always most struck by his choice of titles for his songs he writes. I also respect his courage for writing and producing his own music, compositions that rests on their own merits, while giving nods to the masters who came before. That’s saying a lot when many of today’s so-called jazz musicians are just faxing – in rehashed standards, Dale is smashing the molds ,even present beautiful, romantic music with the “Hog-legged Baritone Saxophone”.
He brings a new elegance to this instrument standing out from others who might have chosen the more”sexy soprano or tenor”.
“On Resilience, Fielder is still able to barrel through the changes of these quite poignant tunes and still make Humming-bird like sensitivity in his solos, that offers a balancing-act relegated mostly to Cirque Soliel.”
Dale wanted this CD to be special , its a double CD! a jewel of a caveat is unleashed in this session in the persona of Ms. Rita Edmond. another Los Angeles native that is kept almost on a “NEED to KNOW” basis, and You need to know Rita. If one wanted to prove why this genre has nothing but great days ahead,One need only listen to Rita Edmond and Dale Fielder play behind her charming and skillful vocals. Without drawing obvious comparisons, but certainly this duo harken the days of Dinah Washington and Gary Mulligan.
Ms. Edmond sings on two of Dale Fielder’s most romantic compositions, Days and Night with You and Romance Serenade. These songs are among my favorites of Fielder’s previously recorded in early 2001 off the Romance Serenade CD performed instrumentally on tenor and soprano respectfully.
This time Dale attacks these songs with his own lyrics added and Rita Edmond delivering the message. She is a great communicator of song, which becomes her very own once she touches the melody. Both of these tunes are light and breezy,yet so romantic and sexy. All of this happening with the sound of the baritone sax ,an almost Beauty and the Beast montage being summoned. This time the beast is the hero who gets the girl.
Edmond unapologetically embraces Fielder’s writing like she wrote the tune and comes across like another saxophone on the recording. I’m equally impressed with her ability to wrap her velvety voice around these lyrics, which sells the whole notion of why we even bother to listen to Jazz. I see Rita Edmond sky-rocketing to the top of the charts and the new jazz divas list very soon. ALL of this spells BUY NOW!! Get RESILIENCE!
The Dale Fielder Quartet Double CD on Clarion Jazz