All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

329

Fight the Big Bull: Dying Will Be Easy

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Based in Richmond, Virginia, guitarist Matt White's Fight the Big Bull is a prime example of how the information age has leveled the playing field for artists outside major metropolitan areas. Originally a self-released demo, Dying Will Be Easy is now available from the illustrious Portuguese label Clean Feed. One listen to the ensemble's debut and it's easy to see why they've garnered so much attention; Fight the Big Bull has great potential.

With informative liner notes by Sex Mob's Steven Bernstein, White's nonet offers a brief (31 minutes) but powerful program of four tunes that encapsulate a wealth of historical influences. The brass heavy ensemble channels the swaggering bluster of Duke Ellington, while exuding an evocative Mediterranean vibe, akin to Charles Mingus's groundbreaking 1963 album The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!).

On one of the year's most stunning openings, Bryan Hooten's electronically distorted slide trombone ascends from darkness, cutting through a swath of brooding horns and martial rhythms. The band kicks into high gear, led by an ecstatic tenor solo from J.C. Kuhl before Hooten's amplified trombone reappears at the coda, accompanied by wailing horns. Primal and passionate, this is an updated version of the raw, gutbucket expressionism that made early jazz so exciting.

More reserved but no less enthusiastic, is the flamenco-themed "November 25th," which features Bob Miller's soaring trumpet over syncopated handclaps and elastic bass. The fiery percussion duet at the center of "Grizzly Bear" is bookended by a strutting theme led by White's sinister reverbed guitar as Hooten takes the tune out with bluesy tailgating vigor. "In Jarama Valley" spotlights Kuhl's incisive tenor variations and the nonet's sublime interaction on an extended meditation that includes contrapuntal melodies, caterwauling cacophony, and rich horn chorales.

At a mere half hour, Dying Will Be Easy reveals incredible potential in White's arrangements and compositions. With their bracing fanfares, percolating rhythms, and dramatically sweeping melodies, Fight the Big Bull revels in the unrefined, expressive qualities of seminal jazz and blues. This is gritty, visceral music that appeals to the heart as well as the brain.


Track Listing: Dying Will Be Easy; November 25th; Grizzly Bear; In Jarama Valley.

Personnel: Matt White: guitar, tunes; Pinson Chanselle: trap kit; Cameron Ralston: bass; Brian Jones: percussion; Bob Miller: trumpet; Reggie Pace: trombone; Bryan Hooten: trombone; J.C. Kuhl: tenor saxophone; Adrian Sandi: clarinet.

Title: Dying Will Be Easy | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
All Is Gladness In The Kingdom

All Is Gladness In...

Clean Feed Records
2010

buy
Dying Will Be Easy

Dying Will Be Easy

Clean Feed Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "RFK Stadium 1989 Box" CD/LP/Track Review RFK Stadium 1989 Box
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Old Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Old Soul
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Moksha" CD/LP/Track Review Moksha
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 29, 2018
Read "Mønk" CD/LP/Track Review Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Heptagon" CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017