Nashville...It's not just for country music anymore!
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Music City is synonymous with country music, at least for now. Nashville is quickly making a name as one of the premier jazz cities in the United States with artists like Matt White leading the charge.
Large or "larger" ensembles normally die by their own hand. Cohesion and synergy going past a quintet format a rare and let us not forget charting for a large ensemble is critical in attention to detail and allowing for that natural chemistry to hit full stride when it comes time to roll tape. Trumpet phenom Matt White seems to have all these components down cold. Oh yeah, The Super Villain Jazz Band is pretty sweet as well too. The charts here are deliciously deceptive, a sextet with the pop and vitality one might normally associated with a more traditional big band arrangement for an ensemble twice the size.
White is one of those rare legit jazz triple threats working as a performer, composer and educator with mad skills across the board. Matt White is fearless, he goes for the jugular when performing with an aggressive lyrical intensity and an energy reminiscent of the great Maynard Ferguson. The tune "Like Woody" (for Woody Shaw) was White's first composition while in college and walked away with top honors in the 2003 DownBeat Student Awards. Some surprising covers steal the show including a deconstructed riff on the Brittney Spears number "Toxic" and a stunning reharm on the Tom Waits classic "Alice." The opening tune "The Yankee Poured Out The Bacon Grease" is the ironic true story of what is a cardinal sin in disposing of his Mississippi mother-in-law's cooking grease. A engaging variety of solo sections and transitional phrasings show an incredible depth of compositional skill and highlights the ability of focusing on visual elements such as colors and shapes while embracing the creative process.
Matt White is a name to remember. A catch some grief for giving out five star ratings on a somewhat regular basis. My only explanation would be life is far too short to listen to bad music.
Tracks: 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; Jonathan Wires: Bass; Jim White: Drums.