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 Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Pillow and his own groups, as well as sitting in with the Boxhead Ensemble, Wilco and numerous other projects.
For those who are interested in Lonberg-Holm's avant-garde technique, Emanem has released Dialogs , a "solo" disc of treated and manhandled cello. Retrofitted with miniature amplifiers, motors and various objects, the cello isas on the covermade into something akin to Jean Tinguely's kinetic sculptural instruments, and the resultant sounds are possibly even less traditionally melodic. Guttural scrapes, ponticello, high harmonics, collegno, feedback, radio squabble and sounds of generally indeterminate nature are the strict language on this disc.
The Dialogs title is apt: here, the process of sonic investigation is perhaps more (or at least differently) paramount and the physical fact of entering into sonic play, the conversation between two bodies, is apparent. Dialogs offers a direct experience that anyone with an interest in art as exploration would do well to hear.
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