Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord - Bring Their 'A' Game (Hot Cup Records, 2016)


Jon Lundbom’s Big Five Chord will release four digital EPs over the course of 2016, later to collect them into physical and digital boxed sets. This is actually the second in the series featuring Lundbom on guitar, Jon Irabagon on alto saxophone, Balto Exclamationpoint (Byran Murray) on tenor, prepared tenor, and balto! saxophones, Moppa Elliott on bass, and Dan Monaghanon on drums. “Wrapped” opens the album with a free-bop feel, akin to the sounds that Eric Dolphy and Jackie McLean were exploring in the mid-1960’s. Lundbom’s guitar has an exciting and tightly wound sound accentuated by taut bass and drums. The horns twist and swirl playfully adding an excellent sly tweak of humor to the proceedings. The band improvises collectively in excellent fashion before slowing the pace slightly to conclude the performance. There is a swing sensation that is filled with longing and yearning on “Worth.” Low temperature guitar and drums boil gently underneath the surface of the music biding their time while on top there is there is dark raw ballad saxophone baying in a hurt fashion against brushed percussion. Lundbom’s subtle guitar then edges through the understated thicket of bass and percussion with in an impressive dark toned solo that stays low to the ground and guides the music to an expressive ending. Finally the Ornette Coleman composition “W.R.U.” lifts of at a blasting pace with strong tight bass and deft swinging drums, with a saxophone entering making for some thoroughly modern jazz improvisation. The second saxophone and Lundbom’s guitar come rippling in and the music becomes very fresh and hot with the horns soaring and the guitar, bass and drums sizzling. The remainder of the track is a thrill ride featuring shimmering guitar and burning saxophones pushed forward by excellent rhythm. The album clocks in at twenty seven minutes and keeps you riveted throughout. This is an excellent group and the music that they play is both high energy, and emotionally engaging, which works well in these short compact bursts of music. Bring Their "A" Game - jonlundbom.com

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