Dying Will Be Easy – Fight the Big Bull
Richmond, Virginias Style Weekly calls Matt White Richmonds sound pioneer. Which is quite the compliment. And I dont know a whole lot about Richmond (never been there) or sound pioneers (okay, I could name a few), but I can tell you that the Richmond-based White is responsible for the nine-piece freaky-jazz group Fight The Big Bull, and theyre pretty interesting.
Featuring bass, drums, percussion, two trombones, trumpet, tenor saxophone, clarinet and White on guitar, the Bull are a heavy crew of music-makers, endorsed by none other than the genius arranger, bandleader and trumpeter Steven Bernstein (White, supposedly, is Bernsteins only student). And theyre new album, out in September on Portugals Clean Feed Records (home to downtowners like Michael Blake, Charles Gayle and Roy Campbell), is a tiny taste of that heaviness (I say tiny because the album only lasts for about thirty minutes!).
The title track opens with drummer Pinson Chanselle shuffling about while White unleashes some chainsaw guitar, followed by some horn lines straight out of the Bernstein book (you know: dirty, wailing Sex Mob stuff). Then, tenor man J. C. Kuhl lets it rip, big and clear. November 25th brings us something a little different, including a trumpet solo backed by only bass and handclaps, and Grizzly Bear provides some shining moments for the percussionist and bassist. In Jarama Valley closes things out kind of quietly, which is a strange way for a Big Bull to go to sleep. But the real question is, wheres Whites guitar? The lead Bull is decidedly absent from much of the proceedings here.