Friday, October 28, 2016

Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord - 2016:EPs (Hot Cup, 2016)

Jon Lundbom’s Big Five Chord released four digital EPs over the course of 2016, collecting them into physical and digital boxed sets this fall. The series features 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. On the EP Bring their A Game, “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 that is 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 Make the Changes EP opens with “MacGuffin” which has a cool swinging and vaguely Monkish feel to it, with a fine bass solo over tapped percussion, making for nice rhythm and Lundbom enters carefully, performing a solo that is fast yet well controlled and leads to a saxophone feature that is strident and biting with well articulated guitar chords underneath. “Ghost Tattoo” is subtle with the horns playing in space, one which plays a short, repetitive figure and the other interacting and moving around it. There is a gentle rise to the power and grace of the music that leads to its conclusion. Thick bass and drums and steely saxophones open “Utile” led by sparks for electric guitar. Lundbom takes a spiky solo over bass and drums that building in an exciting nature. The music here is well executed and imaginative, even more so when squalls of saxophone build up, adding a blustery air to the proceedings. Play all the Notes is an EP lead off by “Comedy Gold” which has bright saxophone accompanied by subtle bass and drums which develops a wide range of sounds. One of the horns increases the pace, developing a two horn line that is sharp and fierce. “Period” has the horns playing fast over locomoting bass and drums. Glowing guitar chords will frame one the saxophones which makes a fine statement, before bowing out and allowing guitar, bass and drums to play a lean and nimble improvisation. The horns will swing grandly on “Humpty Dumpty” in a mellow manner with gently toned guitar, bass and drums. Some lean saxophone breaks through like a ray of light, sounding gutsy and gruff. Finally, the Make the Magic Happen EP begins with “Ain’t Cha” which shows Lindbom at his most impressive, playing very hot and outrageously exciting guitar over provocative bass and drums. “La Bomb” has medium tempo horn riffs that support a quieter guitar solo, which can juxtapose its subtlety against raw and yearning saxophone. Strong solo bass underpins Ornette Coleman’s “Law Years” soloing with light percussion, and then followed by an excellent bluesy saxophone solo, which accentuates itself with rending and tearing noises making it all the more emotionally resonant. All of these EP’s clock in at around twenty five minutes and each one keeps you riveted throughout. This is an excellent group and the music that they play is both high in energy and emotionally engaging, which works well in these short compact bursts of music, and over the long haul. 2016: EPs - jonlundbom.com

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