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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm / Nick Stephens: Crackle: Six improvisations for Cello and Double Bass

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These improvisations between Chicago's ubiquitous cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and veteran British double bassist Nick Stephens, known for ongoing collaborations with Norwegian reed master Frode Gjerstad and South-African drummer Louis Moholo- Moholo, were recorded in 2011 in Stephens' home-town, Northwood. The duo immediately establish a common language that encompasses organic elements of fiery free jazz, through exploration of extended bowing techniques or often simple, straight- forward and lyrical, chamber playing. The two juggle between these shifting elements, to form searching, restless dynamics and and multi-layered textures. The fourth, 15-minute long improvisation enables Lonberg-Holm ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm's Fast Citizens: Gather

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When a band gathers some very imaginative musicians into its fold, it can only lead to one thing: an amazing listening experience. Fast Citizens has proved that over the years from the time saxophonist Keefe Jackson formed the band in 2003 and released Ready Everyday (Delmark Records, 2006), through to to Two Cities (Delmark Records, 2009), with saxophonist Aram Shelton at the helm. The members of the band were democratic to the core and decided that they would take turns leading the outfit. It is now the turn of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.The band manifests itself in the organic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlotte Hug / Fred Lonberg-Holm: Fine Extensions

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Viola and cello have coexisted in splendid harmony on the concert stage for hundreds of years, both instruments bolstering powerful orchestral settings for every composer, even before Haydn, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven employed violin and cello in compositions with vivid effect. What delights the inner ear, however, especially on the brazen Fine Extensions, is the fact that these instruments transcend all earlier sonic relationships between the strings. Locked in the embrace of a tonal adventure, jousting with one another, egging each other on with brave linearity, vertically and horizontally, to explore every aspect of the machinations of sound and its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlotte Hug / Fred Lonberg-Holm: Fine Extensions

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Dating from a concert in Zurich in March 2009, this duo between violist Charlotte Hug and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm adds to the impressive array of improvising string recordings already on Emanem. The viola and cello--the two middle members of the violin family--overlap in the pitches they can produce, so the combination makes for fascinating listening; mainly, their sounds are distinct enough to be clearly distinguishable, but sometimes they play in similar ranges so that they blend together more. Hug and Lonberg-Holm have history dating back to Chicago in 2005, with their first duo album (Flying Aspidistra #5) having been released ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nate Wooley / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Jason Roebke: Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing

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Seemingly the most complicated music is really the most simple; complexity might stem only from the mindful choices the performers make when they play. Yet, when the vocabulary of each performer is so well attuned to the possibilities of an unusual instrumental setting, then the choices for improvising, even though they might sound oddly pressured, are instinctual. What the musicians give each other musically and how each responds, generates the music.

This concept holds true on Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing, featuring the trio of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics and Jason Roebke on ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Terminal Valentine

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Fred Lonberg-Holm Terminal Valentine Atavistic 2007

Recalibrating the idea of a piano-less jazz trio by excluding a wind instrument and including a cello takes a certain amount of chutzpah. But in 2000, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm convened such a trio to record music honoring the cellist Fred Katz, who introduced the cello to a jazz context when drummer Chico Hamilton featured him in his quintet during the 1950s.

Riding out personnel changes in the group, Lonberg-Holm finally found stability with Jason Roebke as the bassist and Frank Rosaly as the drummer. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Terminal Valentine

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The highly expressive cello is a cornerstone of the western classical canon, yet it remains a marginalized instrument in the jazz world. Chicago-based cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm sits atop a growing list of contemporary innovators playing what is still classified as a “miscellaneous" instrument by many mainstream jazz publications.

Terminal Valentine is Lonberg-Holm's third album in a series originally inspired by the work of cellist Fred Katz, best known as a member of Chico Hamilton's visionary 1950s chamber jazz quintet. A Valentine for Fred Katz (Atavistic, 2002) and Other Valentines (Atavistic, 2005) preceded this date, with each succeeding album ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Miles Davis: The Complete Concert 1964 / Fred Lonberg-Holm: Other Valentines

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Miles Davis The Complete Concert 1964 Sony 2005

On February 12th, 1964, Miles Davis played a benefit concert at Lincoln Center to help register black voters in Louisiana and Mississippi. Davis and his luminous sidemen--George Coleman on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass, Herbie Hancock on piano and eighteen-year-old Tony Williams on drums--launched into eleven standards and, according to Davis, “We just blew the top off that place that night. It was a motherfucker the way everybody played." The concert was released as two albums, My Funny Valentine and “Four" and More, which have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Other Valentines

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Cellists are few and far between in the jazz world, which is just one reason Fred Lonberg-Holm is special. His approach to the instrument is decidedly non-classical, reaping as it does all sorts of alternative tonal colors that would be deemed “incorrect," which makes it ideal for the sort of in-and-out improvisation that he favors. Lonberg-Holm has called Chicago home since the late '90s, and in the last few years he's built up important relationships with several local players, including Ken Vandermark; he's also a member of Peter Brötzmann's sprawling talent-rich Tentet.

Other Valentines is a sequel of sorts to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Other Valentines

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The cello may not be the most common instrument in jazz, but over the years it has had a number of significant proponents, including the late Fred Katz and more recently Erik Friedlander, Vincent Courtois, and Hank Roberts. Add to that list Fred Lonberg-Holm, who, while based in New York for a number of years since emerging on the scene in '90, now resides in Chicago and has recently replaced trombonist Jeb Bishop in saxophonist Ken Vandermark's Vandermark 5. With a résumé that includes work with rock, jazz, and avant-garde bands, it's no surprise that his own discography has been ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm: Dialogs

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The list of truly formidable improvising cellists is rather short, for its perceived role as a classical instrument keeps it, like the French horn, out of the traditional jazz ensemble. Fred Katz, Ron Carter, Calo Scott, Joel Freedman, Abdul Wadud, Ernst Reijseger and Fred Lonberg-Holm are the most visible among the ranks, and the latter two are particularly notable for being galvanizing forces among their respective communities of musicians. Lonberg-Holm has, as a result of his extraordinarily varied palette and compositional ideas, become one of the mainstays of the Chicago improvised music community. He plays regularly in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm: A Valentine For Fred Katz

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Jazz cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm pays tribute on this Valentine to his predecessor, the composer/arranger Fred Katz. Just as Katz did with Chico Hamilton's bands of the 1950's, Lonberg-Holm proves the cello doesn't have to be the redheaded stepchild of the double bass. Katz, a classically trained cellist and student of Pablo Casals, plied his craft in settings from cool jazz to the outward reaches of Eric Dolphy and Ken Nordine's spoken-word jazz.

Lonberg-Holm followed a similar path through classical composition and avant-music, studying with Morton Feldman and Anthony Braxton and immersing himself into the New York Downtown scene ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sten Sandell - Fred Lonberg-Holm - Michael Zerang: Disappeared

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Although they share similar improvising/new music and/or modern jazz credentials, Disappeared signifies the inaugural release by Swedish pianist Sten Sandell, and his Chicago, IL-based associates; percussionist Michael Zerang and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.

The title of this outing lends a bit of credence to the actual musical presentation as the Trio executes a series of mini-themes amid unexpected surprises and elusive methodologies. Throughout these nine pieces titled, “Disappeared-Day One” through Disappeared-Day Nine”, the musicians perpetuate oscillating flows of varying levels of intensity while Sandell also augments many of these works with his abstract vocalese and scat-like utterances. Here, the band injects ...



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