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Accomplish Jazz by Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord

This CD bears one of the most ironic titles I've seen in quite some time - Lundbom and his group do more than "Accomplish Jazz" they find a nice sunny spot in it, and then roll around, find a nice comfy place, and make themselves right at home, luxuriating in four sharp and twisty original tunes (all penned by Lundbom) and an exceptionally unlikely cover (The Louvin Brothers' country-gospel tune "The Christian Life"). While I wasn't familiar with guitarist Jon Lundbom, I knew I was in for a treat as this CD is on the adventurous Hot Cup label, and it features two players - alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Moppa Elliott - from the label's flagship band 'Mostly Other People Do The Killing' (MOPDTK). "Accomplish Jazz" certainly has some of the outré gonzo-jazz wackiness that characterizes MOPDTK's output thus far, but it also has a more somber, ECM-ish tilt to it. The latter comes to the fore most prominently in the disc's sole ballad, 'Phoenetics,' which frames a lush, almost meditative, duet between Lundbom and Elliott. Though subdued in tone, this nakedly emotional dialogue is nothing short of scintillating. The CD's one cover - 'The Christian Life' - is played sweetly and with a sense of inner conviction that is worlds away from the ironic hipster treatment I was expecting. That said, the piece provides an unusually fecund springboard for a wonderful solo by tenor saxophonist Bryan Murray (who also leads a Merle Haggard tribute band!), full of George Adams-inspired overblowing and vocalization. Elliott follows Murray with a virtuosic solo of his own.

The rest of the CD is no less rewarding. 'Truncheon' leads the set off with a tough, noir-jazz feel and Lundbom's ensuing solo gives the listener a look into his highly original style. Here, Lundbom seems to eschew electronic effects in favor of unexpected harmonic and rhythmic departures, sounding a bit like a hybrid of Blood Ulmer, Sonny Sharrock, and John Scofield. Up-and-coming jazz superstar Irabagon follows this with a radically virtuosic solo of his own - replete with nervous, rapid, note flurries punctuated by Dolphy-like upper-register squeals and slower bluesy phrases. 'Tick-Dog' starts off with Lundbom playing an abstractly funky unaccompanied solo, only to be pushed by drummer Danny Fischer into even more abstract realms before the duo settles into a hypnotic ostinato that bears the sweeping, swirling melodic content of the tune. Murray's solo here is quite impressive, as is Fischer's Elvin Jones-inspired ultra-polyrhythmic drumming. 'Baluba, Baluba' wraps up "Accomplish Jazz" with some aggressive funk, and features Lundbom's first use of guitar distortion on the CD. Irabagon and Murray solo over the spiky funk, which gradually falls apart and gives way to something slower, looser and more free as Lundbom and Murray improvise as a duet, eventually taking the tune out in an appealingly noisy and disjointed fashion. "Accomplish Jazz" is an incredibly impressive third release from a deliriously talented group.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord
  • CD Title: Accomplish Jazz
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Hot Cup Records
  • Tracks: Truncheon, Phoenetics, The Christian Life, Tick-Dog, Baluba Baluba
  • Musicians: Jon Lundbom (electric guitar), Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone), Bryan Murray (tenor saxophone), Matthew Moppa' Elliott (bass)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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