Daily Archives: June 10, 2010

Music and More review by Tim Niland

TGB – Evil Things (CF 181)
It’s great to see a band that has enough irreverent humor to cut an album that includes covers of songs by Bill Evans and Black Sabbath, along with tributes to a former Beatle and a notorious sorcerer. Consisting of Mario Delgado on guitar, Alexandre Frazao on drums and Sergio Carolino on tuba, the group has a unique an exciting sound that should appeal to fans of the work that guitarist Bill Frisell produced in the mid 1990’s. Mixing grinding and abrading uptempo tracks with abstract smears of music the group covers a wide range of territory. Their song “George Harrison” is a fascinating tribute to the late pop legend, moving dynamically through several sections from dramatic layers of tuba to strong guitar and drum interplay, with music is constantly shifting, and building upon itself. Some of the band’s impish humor shines through on “Aleister Crowley” which develops from an ominous acoustic guitar led opening to a wild and wholly electric free jazz performance, complete with slurred and screamed vocalizing to complete the scene of musical mayhem, slashing burning like the old mage himself was involved in casting some musical magic. The mix of instruments may seem an odd pairing, but it works really well, making for emotional and exciting music that falls neither into the traditional power trio or abstract free jazz camps. The musicians bring a wide variety of influences into play from rock and pop to electronic and avant-guard, and it seves them well in making a compelling album.

All About Jazz review by Martin Longley

Fight The Big Bull – All Is Gladness In The Kingdom (CF 169)
Such an unwieldy band name and album title is almost perversely suitable for the ambitious music contained herein. Fight The Big Bull (FTBB) is, doubtless, dominant on the Richmond, Virginia alternative jazz scene, but possesses the powers to be equally noticeable on the much larger stage of, let’s say, New York City. From this very place, trumpeter Steven Bernstein made the pilgrimage by car, invited to be an artist-in-residence. He okayed a heavy schedule, but did he really realize how productive his stay would be? Gigs, workshops and, oh yes, the studio recording of this very disc. Bernstein took a pair of tunes and three arrangements, but FTBB’s leader, guitarist Matt White, also contributed strongly with his own majority of six compositions. The combination was eminently suitable. FTBB is a horn-heavy 11-piece that can move with ease from bell-chiming spaciness to severe charging, though the latter is probably its ideal state.

Bernstein is, unsurprisingly, dominant on the soloing front, his agile muted splintering often stepping into the foreground. This is not to say that the six other horners are much less extroverted. This is why Bernstein fits in so easily, as the band enjoys a similarly lusty approach to retro reclamation. Stalking themes grab the ears with both fists, as most of the tunes reel with memorable riffs that could certainly draw in many rock aficionados. The pieces are very visual, inhabiting genre zones that invariably inspire filmic connections: imaginary seedy activities relating to guns, drugs, monsters, chicks, fast cars and murderous machinations.

FTBB craves the climactic blowout. Much of its unusualness lies in the percussion patterns of Brian Jones and Pinson Chanselle (the latter a star of one of those movies?). When these atmospheric chimings are audible, this means that FTBB is taking a rest from its brawling, oily, big band barging, an occasional respite from the slugging, brutalist majority. Sluggingly brutal with a refined intelligence, of course.