Joe Fielder's Big Sackbut: Live In Graz

Dan McClenaghan By

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Joe Fielder's Big Sackbut: Live In Graz
Trombonist Joe Fielder offers up Joe Fielder's Big Sackbut—Live In Graz, the group's second recording, a follow-up to the 2012 eponymous Yellow Sound Label debut and 2013's Sackbut Stomp (Multiphonics Music). The line-up is three trombones (Ryan Keberle, Luis Bonilla and Fielder) and a tuba (Jon Sass), so it isn't hard to imagine what the sound is like: bold, brassy, full bodied, rich-toned. And surprisingly edgy at times.

So what is a sackbut, anyways? It sounds like the derisive schoolyard nickname tagged onto some pour soul beset by a drooping backside. Well, a Google search is a wonderful thing. Turns out a sackbut is an early-in-the-evolution trombone, used during the Renaissance and Baroque eras. So, talking evolution: the big horn played a lot of bottom end—along with the tuba—in early jazz, then went into something of an eclipse in terms of usage, then rose again in the bebop era on the shoulders of J.J. Johnson.

Joe Fielder makes the most of the instrument—no more back seat for the 'bone. He dedicates Live In Graz to Roswell Rudd, the avant-garde trombone master who passed in 2017. Presented here are four Rudd-penned tunes, Charles Mingus' "Devil Woman" and four Fielder originals. The sound is free swinging, with lots of soloing all around and some unison blowing that can shake the rib cage and defibrillate the heart. A sort of avant chamber jazz with an attitude.

Joe Fielder's Big Sackbut—Live In Graz is a powerhouse celebration of the sometimes stentorian, sometimes supple sounds—and the interplay—of a trio of trombones, with a muscular tuba foundation.

Track Listing

Peerskill; Devil Woman; I'm In; Bethesda Fountain; Ways; Yankee No-How; Chicken; Suh Blah Blah Buh Sibi; Tonal Proportions.


Joe Fielder: trombone; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Louis Bonilla: trombone; Jon Sass: tuba.

Album information

Title: Live In Graz | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Multiphonics Music

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