Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord, No New Tunes

Not only is Jon Lundbom a jazz-contemporary electric guitarist at the forefront of new practice, his band Big Five Chord, individually and collectively, is one of the most important around today. And their latest, No New Tunes (Hot Cup LP or download), is perhaps the strongest album yet. Now I could just leave it at that and go get another cup of coffee, but I suspect that I should go into detail, no?

First the band: Jon Lundbom, guitar, Jon Irabagon, alto and soprano saxophones, Bryan Murray, tenor and balto! saxophones, Moppa Elliott, bass, Dan Monaghan, drums. The rhythm section is very hip. The Irabagon-Murray sax team is terrific. And Jon gets plenty of chances to show that he can (and does) line with originality and edge. He turns in some beautiful solos here. Then there are times when Irabagon and/or Murray play with your head a little. They may be blazing into a solo or solo succession with all sorts of imaginative twists and suddenly you realize that they are putting you on just a hair, but they are dead serious at the same time. It's the tradition, yet it is inside the tradition, taking it outside and making a humorous aside all at the same time. Well, you know Rollins has always done something on these lines when he felt it. There are some very uncanny moments like that. Of course these guys often have that kind of humor to them, but on this one they top themselves.

OK, then there are the compositions and soloing routines. First rate. Sometimes they pull out the rock stops and get very heavy. Sometimes they do less electric avant things. It all comes together, regardless of what.

All else can be said and maybe has been said by a critic who works for some big-name magazine, newspaper, etc. And gets paid and all that. But listen, my street cred by now should make you take me as seriously as Jon and crew. Because if I can say all this while I am scuffling, then you know I mean it. No shoot, this is the album to get.

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