"The trombonist Joe Fiedler has a new album, ‘I’m In,' that captures his feeling for a rugged but jaunty experimentalism..."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times
"He’s equally facile playing inside and outside, but just as important, he likes and respects both. The trio’s fourth recording marks out a boundary where these elements can cordially coexist, and then throws a party inside that perimeter ... Throughout its duration, I’m In yields similar pleasures, rewarding rigorous examination and casual appreciation."
- Bill Meyer, DownBeat Magazine (four stars)
"The trombone is one of jazz’s most underrated and expressive instruments. It takes a true believer in its potential for jazz esprit (done to perfection by masters of the bone from J.J. Johnson to Steve Turre) to courageously explore its range of conversation—from multiphonics to lyrical beauty. That’s why Joe Fiedler is so impressive. His new album, 'I’m In' (his fourth overall), is rousingly superb..."
- Dan Ouellette, ZealNYC.com
"In addition to his diverse sideman work, Fiedler's reputation as a vanguard artist with a penchant for experimenting outside conventional norms is somewhat belied by the accessibility of his creative efforts which are well represented on this engaging (and appropriately titled) session. I'm In, a noteworthy addition to his burgeoning discography, is every bit as compelling as the work of his heroes."
- Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com
"Let me sing the praises — and the chops, imagination, and creativity — of Joe Fiedler, a trombonist even less likely to be known but maybe even more dazzling ... the title track opens with a kind of muttering, multiphonic, crazy-creative solo cadenza that will take your breath away — before it sets of a little groove tune that might have been on a hip Lee Morgan record from 1966."
- Will Layman, PopMatters.com
"When it comes to the trombone, the list of luminaries seems much shorter, and the litany of trombone-led combos even smaller. Joe Fiedler aims to change all that, and his new album 'I’m In,' on his Multiphonics Music label, is a blast of inventive new sounds featuring Fiedler’s trombone in a trio setting.
- Jay Miller, The Patriot Ledger
"Trombonist Joe Fiedler’s day job is as arranger, orchestrator and trombonist for Sesame Street. In the most complimentary manner possible, I’m In, the fourth CD by his own trio, is a bit like that kids’ TV show: it’s educational plus a whole lot of fun."
- Ken Waxman, The New York City Jazz Record
"Trombonist Joe Fiedler has been an MVP in configurations that range from
salsa bands to the jazz
- Time Out New York
Influenced by two older cousins who both played trumpet, trombonist/composer Joe Fiedler, born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and based in NYC since 1993, desperately wanted to become a trumpet player himself, but was instead given a trombone by his fourth grade music teacher who saw Fiedler and the trombone as a good match. The young, shy musician accepted the "arranged marriage", and the fourth grade music teacher has since been proven prophetic. Fiedler and the trombone finding each other coincided with the young musician falling under the abiding influence of two albums from his father's collection, The Cannonball Adderley Sextet-Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, and Oscar Peterson's Night Train.
After a period of time at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, with the trombone on the back burner, Fiedler decided to move back home and transferred to the University of Pittsburgh, where he soon joined the University's jazz band. "Once my flame was relit, I was all in, and full on! At that time I had no idea how to make a living playing the trombone, but I was just in love with practicing and the whole process," commented Fiedler.
Upon graduating Fiedler quickly becoming an in-demand sideman, freelancing for several years in Pittsburgh, including hitting the road with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and working in pit orchestras for Broadway shows. Shortly after, Fiedler moved to New York City in 1993, and two big breaks really opened up a career path for the trombonist. He heard through some friends who were members of Billy Bang’s quintet that the great Cecil Taylor was forming a new large ensemble. As a young, brave, talented, and perhaps naïve musician, Fiedler crashed the first rehearsal, and when he wasn't asked to leave, he just kept showing up. "After a while I guess that I was just in the band. While playing with Cecil was great, it was the players that I met that led to many other projects, either directly or indirectly. Some of those players included: Steve Swell, Susie Ibarra, Chris Jonas, Rob Brown, and Chris Lightcap," said Fiedler.
Fiedler also met many future collaborators through Joey Sellers, one of his all time favorite composers /arrangers /trombonists, who was holding open rehearsals at the Local 802 Union with his 11 piece band. Fiedler explains, "through the grape vine, I ended up at one of those rehearsals and was able to stick around. Up until then I was a bit mired in the free jazz scene—which was cool, but I wanted to play in an open setting, but with some harmony and form. (Much in the vein of my hero Ray Anderson.) It was in Sellers' band that I finally met a whole slew of like-minded players and really felt at home. That band included Tony Malaby, Dave Ballou, Dave Berkman and my future band mates, John Hebert and Michael Sarin."
Since this time, Fiedler, born March 24, 1965, has gone from strength to strength, happily entrenched in a whirlwind of prestigious sideman activity over the past twenty years (Fiedler is one of the first-call trombonists in the world and is featured on more than 100 recordings). He has also been modestly crafting and releasing an exceptional cluster of recordings as a composer and bandleader that has garnered high praise from fans and the most revered journalists and critics covering jazz and creative music. Further evidence of Fiedler's rising star is his appearance on the DownBeat Magazine Critic's Poll for the past several years.
From the opening notes of his latest recording, I'm In (released in April of 2015), Fiedler, bassist Rob Jost and drummer Michael Sarin make it clear that this is going to be an adventurous, imaginative, funky and fun listen. I'm In is the fourth from the latest incarnation of his trio, and the second album on his label, Multiphonics Music. The album presents a departure from his previous trio sessions, as Fiedler set out to play tunes with more traditional jazz forms, and that possessed more blues elements. With I'm In Fiedler has once again used his curious mind and explorer's heart to great advantage, finding brilliant new approaches on his horn, and new heights of mastery with his composer's pen.
I'm In follows Fiedler's highly acclaimed trio recordings (Plays The Music of Albert Mangelsdorff, The Crab and Sacred Chrome Orb - albums that put him on the map as a triple threat musician - a seriously gifted improviser, an accomplished composer/arranger and an imaginative bandleader), so it is an album that has a lot to live up to; and it delivers brilliantly on many levels. The repertoire is as perfectly balanced as a culinary masterpiece, with just the right amount of Latin tunes ("Erstwhile", "In Walked Cleo" - written for his daughter), funky explorations ("Completely 'Peccable"), swing ("I'm In"), and more than a dash of free improvisation for good measure ("Moving In Silence").
In addition to his Trio, one of most critically-acclaimed projects that Fiedler has undertaken as a leader is his band, Big Sackbut, featuring Fiedler, Luis Bonilla & Ryan Keberle - trombones, and Marcus Rojas - tuba. Big Sackbut was born in the late 1980s when Fiedler saw The World Saxophone Quartet live and was inspired to form a similar band, using trombones and tuba. Fiedler has release two acclaimed albums with Big Sackbut, the self-titled debut from the group, Big Sackbut (2012, Yellow Sound), and Sackbut Stomp (released in 2013 on Fiedler's own Multiphonics Music).
Joe Fiedler's career is always moving full steam ahead, and in addition to leading his own bands, the aforementioned Big Sackbut and The Joe Fiedler Trio, he is currently working with Eddie Palmieri, Fast 'n' Bulbous, Viento De Agua (whose first album, De Puerto Rico al Mundo, was selected among the Top 10 Latin albums of the year by The New York Times), the Ed Palermo Big Band, Endangered Species-The Music of Wayne Shorter, and many others. Fiedler is also in the planning stages for a solo trombone project, and is a regular contributor to The Mingus Big Band. Fiedler's "day job" is Music Director: Arrangements (serving as arranger, orchestrator and trombonist) for Sesame Street. Over seven seasons he has written more than 250 arrangements and crafted more than 5000 underscoring cues.