Like Stiff Records from the 1970s and '80s punk era, Hot Cup Records always delivers music that is a sharp shot to the solar plexus. Home to the renegade jazz ensemble Mostly Other People Do The (MOPDTK), the avant-jazz country-music cover band Bryan And The Haggards, and guitarist Jon Lundbom
's Big Five Chord, Hot Cup always comes out punching. Liverevil
Lundbom's fifth Big Five Chord release follows the vinyl (and download) LP No New Tunes
(Hot Cup, 2012) and is the second to include the drummer Dan Monaghan. It is also the second to feature the keyboards of Matt Kanelos, last heard on Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! Quavers!
(Hot Cup, 2011).
Joining Lundbom are MOPDTK bandmates, saxophonist Jon Irabagon
and bassist Moppa Elliott
, both members along with Lundbom are in saxophonist Bryan Murray
's Merle Haggard tribute band.
On this live date, the band plays off the Miles Davis
(and Black Sabbath) palindrome Live-Evil
(Columbia, 1971). Lundbom though, comes more from the John Scofield
and Mike Stern
school than from Live-Evil
's John McLaughlin
sound. The music rocks-out without leaning on jazz fusion as a crutch, and pushes past jazz tradition by plugging into deep grooves. Disc one (referred to as "The Jazz Set") includes "Tick-Dog" that opens with a lengthy snaking unaccompanied solo by the guitarist that results, not in a bluesy funk but an odd complicated time piece. Murray takes a bleating Rahsaan Roland Kirk
-sounding solo on his balto, an alto saxophone fitted with a baritone plastic mouthpiece. The band moves on to some Wiccan prayer (yes, witch music) songs, playing a three-part suit of music. The combination of electric guitar, electric piano and sympathetic horn arrangements maintains the music's energy and ingenuity.
Disc two, or "The Rock Set," opens with a marching dirge "Bring Forth The Battalions." Lundbom plays with more pugnacity here, raising his guitar voice over the battle hymn of Monaghan's drums. Even more aggression is heard on "Jacation," a repeated passage sets up a saxophone trade and tirade by Irabagon and Murray. Lundbom's compositions push the music toward groove steady sounds, then pull it into jazz with odd time signatures and a taste for multiple changes. The highlight on the second disc is the disc's only cover, "North Star" by The Rural Alberta Advantage." The band rallies around this simple song with beautiful, almost ineffable solos by Irabagon and Kanelos.
Perhaps their next palindrome album should be called, I'm A Tune Nut, Am I?
(CD1) The Difference; Tick-Dog; Our Sun; Now Is The Time/The Maypole
Harvest/Evening Shadows. (CD2) Bring Forth The Battalions; Our Jacation;
North star; Have You Ever Seen A Woman As Big As Martha?.
Jon Lundbom: guitar; Jo Irabagon: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone;
Bryan Murray: tenor
saxophone, balto saxophone; Moppa Elliott: bass; Dan Monaghan: drums;