Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord - Jeremiah (Hot Cup, 2015)

Guitarist Jon Lundbom is a fascinating figure on the modern jazz scene, releasing subversive and fascinating music. His memorable compositions and the generous amount of solo time allotted to his accompanists make for music that is strong and vibrant throughout. He is accompanied on this album by Jon Irabagon on soprano sax, Bryan Murray on tenor and balto (hybrid baritone/alto) saxophones, Moppa Elliott on bass, Dan Monaghan on drums, Sam Kulik on trombone and Justin Wood on alto saxophone and flute.“The Bottle” opens the album with strong, punishing saxophones, flinty guitar with powerful drumming. This is heavy stuff and the band really bears down with some awesome raw caustic saxophone goaded on by fine percussion leading to completely epic and over the top joy. Blending horns swirl saxophones ebb and flow on “Frog Eye” building strength and power in a wild and woolly collective improvisation. Lundbom takes a knotty guitar solo backed by splashy drumming. Harmonizing horns open “Scratch Ankle” before they throw caution to the wind blowing hard with some epic drumming forcing their hand. The horns joust and parry looking for an opening, taking the raw and wild sound to exciting new levels. “First Harvest” slows things down with soft, subtle near ballad guitar, horns appear, rather more gentle and build with majesty, leading to a tenor solo with brushed percussion. The horns build quite an edifice, strong and structurally sound. “Lick Skillet” goes off the beaten path for a spell with guttural sounds that bounce and fracture, saxophone gymnastics of pops ands slurs before the full band kicks in, making way for a spotlight for nimble light percussion and flute, Strong filling-rattling drumming opens “W.P.S.M.” then saxophones and drums develop a ripe and fun collective improvisation, followed by a section of guitar and saxophone with the drummer hot on their heels, very exciting. This is great stuff and the sense of enjoyment and exploration is palpable. Squalls of saxophone and guitar are intercut with bass solos, making wondrous music. Lundbom finally takes center stage on “Screamer” initiating full out guitar led onslaught. Horns punch brutally before laying out for a reverberating guitar feature, stretching out nicely abetted by strong drumming. There are breaks for a slower section of bass and saxophone before the full band returns for a strong conclusion. This was a tremendously fun and exciting album to listen to, where Lundbom continually challenges the listener and the band, getting great results in the process. Jeremiah - amazon.com

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