It's apparent why Ken Vandermark invited cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm to join the now defunct Vandermark 5 a decade ago. His versatility allows him to play a full spectrum of music from chamber jazz to stadium rock. One minute he's Pablo Casals, the next Jimi Hendrix.
His adventures have taken him from Peter Brötzmann's Tentet to Dave Rempis' Ballister, to Chicago's Fast Citizens, and his own Valentine Trio, Seval, ADA Trio, and The Boxhead Ensemble. Stirrup is a trio formed from the rhythm section of Horse's Ha, an indie/folk/rock band. Lonberg-Holm, bassist Nick Macri, and drummer Charles Rumback come together as Stirrup, a Midwestern answer to Bill Frisell's Americana music.
With his electronics mischief included, Lonberg-Holm can stretch his cello to sound like an electric violin"Super Seeded" or a Japanese koto"Song For Salim." He also doubles on tenor guitar"Zenith II" for a more diverse sound. The first track, "Zenith," displays his extended cello technique complemented by electronics. The cellist is dutifully supported by Rumback and Macri with a rock-solid groove as a platform for his explorations. Pieces of blues slip out, rock is hinted at, as are hypnotic folky soundscapes. Stirrup coats American roots music with a layer of avant sound delivered with a pleasing infectious groove.
Track Listing: In Zenith I; Floating Melody; The Profit of Field Stripping; Super Seeded; Song for Salim; Insen
for Yonsei; Convulsive; In Zenith II.
Personnel: Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, tenor guitar; Nick Macri: bass; Charles Rumback: drums.
The first jazz show I ever attended was the Herbie Hancock Sextet, when I was 15. I had just left the Julliard Preparatory Division, having recently heard Jimi Hendrix for the first time. I was in search of new musical horizons and its been a fascinating journey from that point onward.