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Matt White: The Super Villain Jazz Band

Jeffrey Uhrich By

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In the midst of its long tradition as home of country music, Nashville is also home to a burgeoning and very vibrant jazz scene. Matt White and the musicians that comprise White's debut, The Super Villain Jazz Band, are proof that Nashville is generating world-class jazz musicians that can contend with any challengers from the east or west coast of the United States (and beyond). The Super Villain Jazz Band, is a collection of imaginative and deceptively complex compositions that draw upon a variety of White's musical influences and inspirations.

Although born in Illinois and raised in Florida, trumpeter/composer/educator Matt White (age 32) made his way to Nashville after distinguishing himself on the Florida jazz scene. He established a name for himself in Nashville as a jazz player (featured soloist with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra) and as a studio trumpeter in Country Music Central. During his time in Nashville, White developed relationships with many of the city's finest jazz players, eventually assembling The Super Villain Jazz Band for this dynamic and charged recording. These players include Evan Cobb on tenor saxophone, Don Aliquo on alto saxophone, Joe Davidian on piano, Jonathon Wires on bass, and Jim White on drums.

The Super Villain Jazz Band opens with a song playfully titled "The Yankee Poured Out the Bacon Grease." Inspired by an actual incident where White unwittingly discarded the precious cooking ingredient patiently collected by a family member, the piece begins with a reflective and pensive piano introduction, upon which Joe Davidian eases into a haunting interplay with Jonathon Wires' bass and Jim White's drums. Before one is lulled into a dream-like complacency, the piece builds up into a full-band arrangement with the horns providing sonic bursts of tight harmonies. As the piece progresses, with various shifts in time signatures and moods, the various members of the band ride the crest of the musical rhythms with imaginative and thoughtful solos ultimately resulting in a sizzling drum solo by J. White.

Setting the pace for the rest of the disc, Matt White's compositions are vivid and complex. His band brings the songs to life with precision and artistic design. "The Muse" is White's dedication to his wife, a former professional ballerina. The piece manages to maintain a sense of quietness and introspection while also demonstrating strength and versatility. "Like Woody" is a tribute to the late Woody Shaw—according to White the melody "attempts to capture the angularity in Woody's playing—the two horn breaks are taken directly from solos of his that I had transcribed at the time." White's innovative arrangements of the Tom Waits ballad "Alice" and the Britney Spears hit "Toxic" demonstrate his ability to see the musicality in all genres of music and transform those ideas into his own musical vision.

In The Super Villain Jazz Band, Matt White validates himself as a legitimate jazz composer assisted by a group of outstanding jazz sidemen in an exceptional collection of jazz compositions.

Track Listing: The Yankee Poured Out the Bacon Grease; Super Villain Jazz Band; The Muse; Like Woody; Thelma's Revenge; Alice; The Hadron Collider; Frankliolisms (Pravo Horo); Toxic.

Personnel: Matt White: trumpet; Evan Cobb: tenor saxophone; Don Aliquo: alto saxophone; Joe Davidian: piano; Jonathon Wires: bass; Jim White: drums.

Title: The Super Villain Jazz Band | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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