Thursday, October 07, 2021

Jon Lundbom and Byran Murray - Beats by Balto Vol. 2 (Chant Records, 2021)

Beats by Balto represents the fun side of experimental jazz with hip-hop quality beats and grooves provided by Bryan Murray under his Balto Exclamationpoint guise while the music comes from Murray and Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Jon Lundbom and Nick Mellevoi on guitar, Moppa Elliott on bass, Sam Kulik on trombone, Matt Kanelos and Richard Mikel on bass. This is a deep collaboration between custom built compositions by Lundbom met by well developed and deployed beats from Balto. The beats give what is already excellent music a new dimension, the ability to slip linearity, loop back, repeat and allow for techniques that are unavailable when playing with regular time. Horns playing together or soloing separately are able to develop interesting textures that the other instruments and beats can meet to produce spontaneous and organic performances. The sound of Lundbom and Mellevoi is strong but accessible, performing guitar solos that are powerful but not overly flamboyant, building a crunchy and searing sounds that lend much of the texture and melody to these performances. Irabagon and Murray are also able to offer searing saxophone solos across the entire saxophone family, sounding stark and potent, with Kilik’s trombone riding in to offering a countering sound that cuts through the accompaniment to add further texture and polish to this already exciting and unpredictable music. While the first volume was created by sending the tracks back and forth to record live performances of the new music, improvised solos, and accompaniment between busy musicians, this album unfolded quite differently. With 2020 forcing musicians off the road into quarantine, Lundbom and Murray were able to take their time and invite their colleagues and longtime musical friends, to create a deep and creative album. This group creates an unusual amalgam of experiential jazz, with beats and rhythms that was very successful. Each of the musicians has a relentlessly inquisitive nature, and by combining their efforts with inquisitive compositions and techniques they create riveting and very successful results. (Nov. 7 on Chant Records)

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